The exiled Ukrainian governor of Kherson, Dmytro Butrii, said on Monday that some 46 villages in the province had been liberated but some of them had been nearly completely destroyed and were still under Russian shelling.
The ship carrying grain that left the Ukrainian port of Odesa on Monday, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, also carried fragile hopes that it might stem a global tide of hunger. Ukraine’s bulging stores hold 20 million tons of grain — trillions of trapped calories with the potential to relieve a food crisis that the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned could last years.
But experts say the immediate impact of Ukrainian grain exports on the global food crisis may be modest — if it is even felt at all.
Yet funding for humanitarian and development aid lags far behind the need. In Yemen, where 60 percent of the population relies on food aid, aid workers have slashed rations to make them go further.
“This is the only country where I’ve worked where you take food from the hungry to feed the starving,” said Richard Ragan, the World Food Program director in Yemen.
And they say that the scale of the crisis — years in the making and fueled by wars, climate shocks and the economic devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic — is so immense that no single advance would be a silver bullet. As many as 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the brink of famine, according to the U.N.’s World Food Program. In the 20 worst-hit countries, the situation is likely to worsen substantially by the end of the summer, it said.
Nikopol, controlled by the Ukrainians, lies on the west bank of the Dnipro River. On the opposite bank sits a gigantic nuclear power plant — Europe’s largest — that the Russian Army captured in March. The Russians have been firing from the cover of the Zaporizhzhia station since mid-July, Ukrainian military and civilian officials said, sending rockets over the river at Nikopol and other targets.