10 November 1998
Russian food shortage ‘may endanger West’

RUSSIA is on the brink of severe food shortages that could pose a security threat to the West, according to intelligence sources quoted in The Times.

The threat has emerged as the European Commission proposed an emergency package of food aid worth £285 million to stave off starvation.

Satellite intelligence pointed out to March as the time when there would be localised shortage of staple foods. Observations have already detected one of the worst grain and potato harvests for years.

Robin Cook, the foreign secretary, said this would have a “severe impact” on security in Europe.

There is a worry that food shortages could lead to demonstrations and rioting that might topple the Russian Government. This could lead to unpredictable political consequences.

The European Union has given the aid on the proviso that it does get re-exported and end back on world markets. The aid includes 1m tonnes of wheat, 500,000t of rye, 100,000t of pigmeat, 150,000t of beef and 50,000t each of milk powder and rice.

  • The Times 10/11/98 page 1
  • Financial Times 10/11/98 page 2
  • The Guardian 10/11/98 page 16
  • The Herald 10/11/98 page 22 (In Brief)