The War in Ukraine is a Global Conflict


Article by Kent Kampa

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Russia launched a “special operation” into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, reigniting an ongoing war that started in 2014. In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine, but this time, it aims to dethrone the Ukrainian government and capture Ukraine as a whole. The conflict has lasted a year, decimating the country of Ukraine while Russia receives criticism from the international community. 

Although it is evident that Ukraine is most affected by this war, the global effects of this conflict can be considered almost as severe. The conflict is transforming the world we live in by creating inflation and price hikes, causing energy and food shortages, and changing the geopolitical state of affairs.

In 2019, Russia and Ukraine accounted for 25.4% of the world’s wheat, according to the Observatory for Economic Complexity. During this war, neither Russia nor Ukraine can produce the same amount of grain and export it worldwide, leading to food shortages globally. Countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and Bangladesh, which buy 60% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, have a horrendous shortage, one which will result in a lack of food among growing populations.

The war has also caused energy shortages around the world. Russia exports the most significant amount of oil in the world, and following sanctions from Western countries on Russia, the world is now facing energy shortages and record-breaking prices. Before the war, Europe imported 60% of Russia’s oil, while China imported 20% of Russia’s oil. Germany relied on Russia for 34% of imported natural gas through sources such as the discontinued Nordstream 2 oil pump between Germany and Russia. Countries cannot replace these energy resources, as other forms of energy like solar, are far less efficient than natural gas, with 20% conversion efficiency for solar compared to 40% conversion efficiency for natural gas.

Inflation and cost increases have been directly impacted by food and energy shortages. Prices have risen, resources have been depleted, and people everywhere face a global economic recession. Inflation has more than doubled worldwide, and according to the International Labour Organization, in the year since March 2021, global inflation in industrialized countries was 5.7%, while for developing countries, inflation was 8.1%

While inflation was already worsening before Putin even ordered his troops to invade, this conflict has accelerated the process, leading to prices soaring in all markets. Increasing food prices can also be seen as a reason for people to rebel and protest, as seen with the Arab Spring uprising a decade ago. While the war continues, it is hard to predict if inflation will go down to manageable levels soon.

Besides the effects on our daily lives, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has dramatically altered geopolitical tensions worldwide. The world’s geopolitical stage is changing because of the growing presence of NATO in Europe and the power struggle between Russia, China, and the US. Putin’s war has caused a divided Europe to unite, with Sweden, Finland, and other EU countries agreeing to join NATO to combat the Russian threat. Germany is remilitarizing to extents not seen since WW2.  Japan is considering repealing the law that prohibits maintaining an army. The US is gearing up for war against Russia in case of an attack, as countries worldwide are taking sides and increasing military capabilities against future threats.

There is no end in sight for the war in Ukraine, and the outcome is unpredictable. Whether or not the war ends soon, the effects on the whole world are increasingly evident and will undoubtedly affect our future. The looming food crisis, high global inflation, growing population, and intensifying geopolitical tensions will contribute to greater hardship in the world. Everyone will be affected no matter what country they are in. 

No economic disaster or price hike could ever be worse than an armed conflict involving the deaths of innocent children, the destruction of homes, and the countless war crimes committed. However, the war’s global effects are astonishing and will continue to affect every human being in the years to come. Through inflation, global tensions, and food shortages, this war is a global conflict at this point. If humans want to find a way to diminish the effects of the war, countries must unite as an international community, not just as independent countries. It is essential that we work together for the betterment of humanity.