OPINION - EDITORIAL

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia has launched a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine is about 5,000 miles (by air) away from New Jersey.

You may be asking the question, Why does this matter to us all the way here in New Jersey?

The short answer is, it matters quite a bit.

First, the human resource tragedy is incalculable. There have already been many hundreds of casualties in the early hours of the Russian invasion.

Then, there are the economic realities. Ukraine is a very rich, formerly independent nation in terms of minerals, energy, agriculture, and other precious properties.

You can expect a sharp rise in energy prices. This is on top of the already runaway inflation that we are confronting.

Oil prices have surged to more than $ 100 a barrel for the first time since 2014. The prospects for a disruption of global energy supplies is real.

Russia is the world’s 2nd largest oil producer. They are also the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, accounting for 35 percent of the entire supply.

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Oil prices are up more than $20 a barrel since the beginning of 2022.

The oil market was already tight before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Here are some fast facts about why Ukraine matters:

  • Ukraine is the 2nd largest country in Europe, with a population of more than 43 million people. By comparison, that’s 6 million more than Poland.
  • Ukraine ranks first in Europe in recoverable uranium ores.
  • Presently 2nd in Europe and 10th worldwide in titanium ore reserves.
  • 2nd in the world in magnesium reserves.
  • 2nd largest iron ore reserves in the world.
  • 2nd in Europe in mercury ore reserves.
  • 3rd in Europe (13th in the world) in shale gas reserves.
  • 7th place in the world in coal reserves.

Ukraine is also surprisingly important in terms of agriculture.

  • 1st in Europe in land area.
  • 3rd worldwide in the area of black soil.
  • 1st worldwide in exports of sunflower and sunflower oil.
  • 2nd worldwide in barley production, including 4th position in barley exports.
  • 3rd largest producer and 4th largest exporter of corn in the world.
  • 4th largest producer of potatoes worldwide.
  • 5th largest rye producer in the world.
  • 5th worldwide in bee production.
  • 8th worldwide in wheat exports.
  • 9th worldwide in the production of chicken eggs.
  • 16th worldwide in cheese exports.

This means that Ukraine is fully capable of meeting the food needs of 600 million people annually.

Ukraine is also important as an industrialized nation.

I’m not suggesting a direct American Military role in Ukraine. I’m adamantly opposed to American troops going to war in the present Russia - Ukraine conflict.

It would be too dangerous for two nuclear superpowers to go at it like this. It cannot come to that. And I’m confident that it will not come to that.

However, we do need to help arm Ukraine, as they gave up being a nuclear power, with the many promises made to them that if they were to be attacked, they would not be left hanging out to dry.

Now you know why an independent Ukraine matters. It matters to New Jersey, all of America, and the rest of the world.

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