Far from Russia’s war in Ukraine, shops are running out of oil, people are paying more at the gas pump, farmers are trying to buy fertilizers and countries are rethinking alliances.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has produced seismic consequences: a rapidly advancing refugee crisis, unprecedented sanctions against a major economy and a shake-up in global relations, including a revived NATO. Below we zoom in on some of the ways the world has changed since the war started on February 24.
Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of wheat, barley, maize and cooking oil, especially to countries in Africa and the Middle East. Russia is also a major producer of fertilizers and petroleum. Disruptions to the flow of these goods exacerbate other supply chain and climate challenges, driving up food and gas prices, causing shortages and driving millions of people hungry.
More than 5.8 million people have fled Ukraine in one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in recent history. Humanitarian groups, with resources already strained by crises elsewhere, have sprung into action. The UN Refugee Agency predicts that about 8.3 million people will leave Ukraine and called for increased financial support for refugees and host countries as both face problems with access to food, housing, transport, education and money.
A 21st century war in Europe – led by a nuclear power – is pushing the world towards a potentially profound reshuffle. It has shaken prominent global players such as the European Union and the United Nations and forced countries to take sides in new ways, leading to mounting tensions and significant diplomatic shifts.
Russia is the second largest producer of natural gas and the third largest producer of oil. The European Union was mainly dependent on Russian energy; it is now preparing to gradually introduce an oil embargo. A historic restructuring is sweeping the global oil and gas trade as countries ban or reduce Russian energy imports, impose sanctions on Russian companies, face Russian demands for payments in rubles and seek alternative sources.
Russia has more nuclear weapons than any other country in the world. In particular, the military attack on Ukraine has revived NATO, a military and political alliance of the United States and European countries. Countries around the world have urgently increased their military spending or have begun a consistent re-evaluation of their defenses.
Susie Cummings, Ayda Pourasad, Will Chase, Greta Pittenger, Lauren Frayer, Emily Feng, Diaa Hadid, Carrie Kahn, D. Parvaz, Scott Neuman and Larry Kaplow of NPR contributed to this report.