fbpx

The big story: Russia is cancelled

Things are escalating at an unimaginable speed in Ukraine. 

As we reported last week, Russia invaded parts of Ukraine and launched missiles at cities, including the capital, Kyiv. This came after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he formally recognised separatist regions of Ukraine led by pro-Russian rebels.

Here’s what has happened in the past week: 

🔶 By day eight of the conflict, the UN recorded at least 227 civilian deaths but said this was likely to be higher. Nearly one million Ukrainians have already fled the country. 

🔶 Russia and Ukraine held talks in Belarus, which borders both countries, on Monday but there was no resolution. They will meet for a second round of negotiations.

🔶 The International Criminal Court will, after obtaining the support of 39 countries to do so, begin an investigation into possible war crimes by Ukraine’s then-government, which was aligned with Russia, back in 2013.

🔶 Russia has taken complete control of Kherson, a key port city right at the bottom of Ukraine on the Black Sea coast. It has forced its way into the city council buildings and imposed a curfew on citizens. The capture of Kherson has raised fears that Russia is creating a military base to push further inland into the rest of the country. 

🔶 A number of sporting fraternities, including soccer body Fifa, have banned Russia from participating in their events. In tennis, Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina said she would not compete against a Russian or Belarusian athlete for the foreseeable future.

🔶 In news and entertainment: SA’s MultiChoice stopped airing Russia’s state news channel, Russia Today, due to EU sanctions; Apple will stop selling its products and providing services like Apple Pay; Netflix will pause projects and acquisitions in Russia and Spotify closed its Russian offices until further notice, citing safety concerns. The Cannes and European Film festivals will neither allow Russian delegates and attendees nor showcase Russian productions. 

What does all this mean for us here in SA? The conflict has a significant impact on the global economy, especially when it comes to trade. Russia is a big player in energy exports, while both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat and corn. We’re already seeing the price of fuel increasing across the globe, as we mentioned in our first story. Less stable emerging market currencies like our own will also be affected. They say that when the US sneezes, the world catches a cold – and it seems that when Russia starts a war, the globe catches pneumonia. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 4 March  2022. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.