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Conflict expected to escalate as Ukraine prepares for counter-offensive

  • Key Message Update
  • Ukraine
  • April 2023
Conflict expected to escalate as Ukraine prepares for counter-offensive

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • According to numerous sources of information and analysis – including FEWS NET’s conflict analysis – Ukraine is preparing to launch a significant counter-offensive in the near term. News reports indicate that around 40,000 additional troops are being trained as of mid-April. While Ukrainian officials have not disclosed plans for the counter-offensive, the government’s publicly stated goal is to re-capture all occupied territory, with some analysts speculating that the offensive is likely to begin in the south. Alongside escalating conflict, additional population displacement is anticipated. However, the greatest concern for acute food security exists among those who will remain behind in conflict-affected areas. As has been the case throughout the conflict, areas impacted by fighting are likely to face disruptions to the provision of electricity and water, restrictions on movement that will hinder trade and market access, and barriers to humanitarian access. In front-line areas, the elderly, disabled, and poor will likely face further disruptions in access to government-provided social support, often a key source of income.

    • In April, rainy and cool weather somewhat slowed the progress of the spring sowing campaign in Ukraine. However, the April rainfall has also improved soil moisture levels, creating more favorable conditions for cultivation. Most winter wheat is reported to be in “good or excellent” condition. Despite overall good cropping conditions, APK-Inform forecasts made in April anticipate that Ukrainian grain production in the 2023 harvest will amount to around 45.6 million tons, a decline of 13 percent compared to the 2022 season (during which the growing period and spring planting period were also affected by conflict). In the 2021 season, before the conflict, Ukraine harvested a record 86 million tons of grain.

    • From March to April 2023, FAO’s global cereal price index remained generally stable (declined by 1.7 percent), to reach levels around 20 percent lower than those recorded one year ago. Though the Safe Grain Corridor deal has not yet been extended and is currently set to expire on May 18, negotiations are ongoing as the continuation of the deal is a high priority for the international community given the importance of Ukrainian exports for world supply and prices. Any meaningful future global food price increases would likely translate into further domestic price increases in countries where acute food insecurity is already of high concern. In most cases, poor households in these countries continue to face domestic food and fuel prices that remain higher than last year and significantly higher than five-year average levels.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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