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How Putin Already Weakened Ukraine’s Economy

Earlier in the week, Irina Gorovaya and other Kyiv entrepreneurs organized a “Stay in Ukraine” campaign to try to rally people behind local businesses that are being hit by the economic upheaval. Ms Gorovaya, chief executive of Mozgi Group, a creative agency, said festivals and other events are rapidly losing money because people are too hesitant to buy tickets.

“People are sitting at home thinking about what will happen tomorrow,” she said.

On the southern coast of Ukraine, the arrival of the Russian Navy to conduct exercises in the Black Sea was another reminder of Ukraine’s vulnerability, both militarily and economically, because in the event of war , the country’s critical ports could face a blockade. So far, Russia has allowed one corridor to remain open for commercial shipping, and there have been no disruptions to operations at Ukrainian ports.

“We don’t have any guarantees, but for now we are operating normally,” said Aleksandr Mukhin, who works at the port development office in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine.

During a port visit this week, the sweet, burning smell of sunflower oil, one of Ukraine’s top exports, wafted through the air. Oil was pumped through a series of pipes into a bright red Italian vessel, the Saracena. Ukraine exports about 300,000 tons of sunflower oil per year.

During the Second World War, the port was the scene of heavy fighting; part of it remains unrepaired after the heavy shelling that took place as Soviet forces fought to retake it from the Nazis.

The port of Odessa, the country’s largest oil and gas terminal and a major hub for grain exports, is also seen as a possible target, especially given the significant sympathy in the city for pro-Russian separatists. in 2014. Some military analysts have warned that Russia may try to take Odessa if the military invades.

But even without a blockade or all-out attack, ports may still be hampered by fear of risk among international insurers. London’s Marine Insurance Market on Tuesday listed Russian and Ukrainian waters in the Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov as high risk, making it more expensive to transport goods to and from ports. This will increase economic pressure on Ukraine, which relies on its Black Sea ports to export grain.

nytimes Gt

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