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It’s almost six months since Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine unfolded, sending global financial markets and geopolitics into a frenzy. Six months later, there is no resolution in sight. The ‘War in Ukraine’ no longer commands the same airtime or print space as it used to in its earlier months, even though the human misery continues to unfold at the edge of Europe. Without an armistice, is this the new normal?

It appears to be so. First, despite the wave after wave of Western sanctions on Russian economy, its banking assets, prominent political leaders, oligarchs and their global interests, Russia has been able to weather the storm due to massive monetary and massive fiscal injections. War-induced higher oil prices helped curtail the acute forex shortfall post-sanctions. President Putin hasn’t yet become the international pariah that Biden and co had initially hoped, as other world leaders continue to meet and greet him.

Over in Ukraine, the war continues in the eastern front and in the south, leading to some normalcy being restored in the main cities and towns that were hit hard in the earlier phase of the war before Russian forces had to retreat. As a result, several world leaders have so far visited the capital Kiev, despite constant threats of missiles flying overhead. The Ukrainian government is trying to meet dual challenge of reconstruction amidst active war and mobilizing more men, materials and machines to retake territory.

As Ukrainian forces counter-attack in eastern provinces and in the south, the much-needed UN-guaranteed ‘humanitarian corridor’ started earlier this month, with the aim to contain the global food and hunger crisis. In journeys fraught with risk, the grain shipments from the Russian-controlled southern ports of Ukraine have started to make their way via the Black Sea to international markets, paving the way to ease trading shortages in the grain commodities.

Keen observers of this war maintain that both countries (and the wider world) are probably in this conflict for the long haul, as Russia will keep trying to consolidate its conquests in the eastern provinces (and some southern regions of Ukraine), even as Ukrainian forces will continue to make small gains in their quest to liberate the territories under Russian occupation. Short of peace talks, it appears there is no game-changing move to break this stalemate.

Amid this impasse on the war front, the commodity markets, overtaken by global recession fears, seem to have gotten a breather. Compared to their respective peak prices seen in the war’s first two months, among Ukraine’s major exports, rapeseed prices are down over 40 percent, wheat prices are down over 30 percent, and corn and soybean prices are down over 25 percent. Besides, global crude oil prices are also more than 25 percent off their peak earlier this year. Let’s see what the coming months have in store.

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Hussain Naqvi Aug 20, 2022 12:46am
AslamoAlikum: Hope one day all the Muslim nations will join hands together to build the "Palestin".
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