Bread and Conflict in Ukraine

The Central Role of Wheat in War Determines Whether Nations Starve or Survive

Russia and Ukraine control about 11.2 percent of the world’s arable land, and supply 28 percent of its exported wheat. A substantial portion the world’s most fertile wheatfields lie along the two nations’ borderlands south and east of Kiev, stretching to the Black Sea. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, most of those croplands have become battlefields.

It is unknown exactly how much productive capacity for wheat has been damaged since the war began, but the situation is dire. The Statistics Service of Ukraine estimates that roughly 40 percent of Ukraine’s …