| 18°C Dublin

The world has been reshaped in the 100 days since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine


A boy plays in front of a destroyed house in the village of Andriivka, Kyiv, on June 3, 2022 on the 100th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov / AFP via Getty Images

A boy plays in front of a destroyed house in the village of Andriivka, Kyiv, on June 3, 2022 on the 100th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov / AFP via Getty Images

A boy plays in front of a destroyed house in the village of Andriivka, Kyiv, on June 3, 2022 on the 100th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov / AFP via Getty Images

One hundred days after Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine, the war has changed the world in ways few could have predicted.

It has redrawn the geopolitical map. The US has forged a global coalition in support of Ukraine, while Russia is more isolated than at any time in recent history.

“Putin has failed to achieve a single one of his strategic games,” Anthony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said this week. “Instead of weakening the international order, he has brought countries together to defend it.”

Yet the war has also unleashed frightening forces, from global food shortages to surging energy prices and inflation.

Yesterday, Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, said: “Putin’s invasion has brought death and destruction on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War. This war has huge ramifications for global peace, prosperity and food security. It matters to us all.”

We look at five ways the world has been changed by the war.

Europe reconfigured

When Sweden and Finland applied to join Nato in May, it marked the end of a European order born in the aftermath of the Second World War. Even Switzerland is now talking about taking a step back from its prized “eternal neutrality”.

The map of Europe is being redrawn, with “de-Russification” sweeping the continent as countries move to wean themselves from Russian oil and gas. Germany has cancelled planned natural-gas pipeline ‘Nord Stream 2’.

In the new European order, it is those who are loudest and clearest in their support for Ukraine who dominate.

Boris Johnson has, so far, arguably been able to escape some of the worst backlash from Partygate owing to his strong response to Russia, from giving weapons to Ukraine to visiting President Zelensky in person.

Once despised in European capitals for accomplishing Brexit, he is now acknowledged — albeit grudgingly — for the work he has done to bolster Kyiv.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

But the war has also plunged Europe into the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, while cracks in European unity on sanctions against Russian energy are already showing.

Nato resurgent

Just a few years ago, Nato seemed moribund. In 2016, Donald Trump described it as “obsolete”, and in 2018 he told American military chiefs he “didn’t see the point in it”.

Not any more. Nato was founded to counter the threat from the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and the new confrontation with Russia has revitalised the alliance, bringing with it two new potential Nordic members.

In a sign of its clear commitment to Europe after the Trump years, the US has poured 40,000 additional troops into Europe, bringing its forces on the continent to 100,000.

Meanwhile, Britain and other Nato members have deployed extra troops to the alliance’s eastern flank in countries bordering Russia.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has finally agreed to meet Nato’s defence spending target of 2pc of GDP. It is also investing €100bn (£85bn) in re-arming — a pledge that would once have sent a collective shiver across Europe.

China undermined

Despite the war, the West has not lost sight of the threat from Beijing.

“Even as President Putin’s war continues, we will remain focused on the most serious long-term challenge to the international order — and that is the one posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Mr Blinken said recently.

When Putin and Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in February, the world assumed a new axis of global superpowers was being formed. When the war broke out, Mr Xi refused to condemn Russia outright.

Yet the Ukraine crisis has left China looking weakened and unsure of its next step. Beijing appears to be in two minds about its alliance with Moscow.

It has spoken out against Western sanctions, but stopped short of wholeheartedly endorsing the war.

“It strikes us that Xi Jinping is a little unsettled by the reputational damage that can come to China by association with the brutishness of Russia’s aggression against Ukrainians, and unsettled certainly by the economic uncertainty that’s been produced by the war,” Bill Burns, the CIA director, said recently.

Fears that China might exploit the situation in Europe to mount its long-threatened invasion of Taiwan while the world was distracted never materialised.

Food shortages

While the war may be going as expected for Ukraine and its Western allies, it could have devastating effects for far-flung countries in Africa and Asia.

Between them, Russia and Ukraine supply 28pc of the world’s wheat, 29pc of barley and 75pc of sunflower oil — and those supplies are drying up.

Ukraine, which alone accounts for 9pc of the world’s wheat and 42pc of the world’s sunflower oil, has been left unable to export it by the Russian blockade of its Black Sea ports.

The US has accused Putin of “weaponising food” as he seeks to make continuing the war uncomfortable for the West.

“It’s a crisis of mega proportions,” Dr Friederike Greb, an economist at the World Food Programme, told The Daily Telegraph. “In 2007 to 2008 we had food riots in 40-plus countries. I think back then people were talking about a perfect storm, but today we’re in an even worse situation.”

Economic downturn

It’s not just food prices. The war has sent already high energy prices soaring, and the effects are being felt in major economies such as the UK, unleashing a wave of inflation.

There are fears of a global recession and a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. In many countries, there are concerns soaring inflation could cause unrest. Sri Lanka has already seen violent street protests as it teeters on the brink of total economic collapse.

Experts fear the country will not be an isolated case. Hounded by a lethal mix of rocketing food and energy prices and soaring inflation, several countries are close to default.

The International Monetary Fund is in urgent talks with Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan about emergency loans, and estimates 60pc of low income countries are in “debt distress”.

Henry Kissinger, a former US secretary of state, has called for negotiations to end the war “before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome”.

© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]

Related topics

Most Watched