CARICOM and the sub-regional grouping of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in separate public statements. Both regional groupings have called for a cessation of hostilities and for peaceful diplomatic negotiations.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, penned a private letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, appealing to him, ‘as a friend of Russia’, to end Moscow’s ‘military operation in Ukraine’ and ‘give peace a chance.’ The twin-island state currently has students studying in Russia and has been assured that they are safe.
Meanwhile, Jamaican students in Ukraine, whose safety were more at risk, have had to walk long miles to the Polish border as refugees. Thankfully, they are now safely back in Jamaica, much to the relief and joy of friends and families.
Guyanese students have also been caught in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but their government has arranged measures for their safety.
With Russia now the second-largest oil producer in the world, oil trade sanctions against Russia have, already, had a negative impact on the price of oil, now over US$100 per barrel, and related petroleum products like fuel. The increase in the price of crude has been tempered by OPEC’s decision to increase supplies and the US and the UK to release part of their strategic oil reserves into the market.
The longer the conflict goes on the higher the price of crude is likely to rise as there are limits to which the US and the UK will be willing to release their strategic oil reserves into the market. OPEC on the other hand will not be complaining about the opportunity to cash in on its oil stocks, given the Climate Change Agenda to move away from fossil fuels.
The impact of the Russia- Ukraine conflict is not limited to oil prices; the price of flour is also expected to increase. The two countries are world producers of wheat. So, in addition to the price of fuel going up, as Caricom countries are already experiencing, increases in the price of flour and wheat-based products should be expected.
Prime Minister Pierre has urged Saint Lucians to brace themselves for increases in the price of wheat-related products. So far, the Saint Lucian government has shielded the local population from the increases in the landed price of gasoline and diesel, however, it is uncertain that it can do so for much longer if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues.