Metin Aktas—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
September 28, 2022 6:00 AM EDT

Oleksandr Kubrakov became Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure nine months before Russian forces invaded his country in February of this year. Like many of his fellow Ukrainian officials, the economist and politician quickly adapted his job to wartime. Kubrakov (above center) became a reliable voice on social media as his country plunged into war, regularly updating Ukrainians on damage to airports, roads, railways, and bridges. More recently he has ­spearheaded the country’s efforts with the United Nations–backed Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement meant to stabilize global food markets after the disruptions of Russia’s war on Ukraine, a leading exporter of barley, corn, and wheat. According to U.N. World Food Programme estimates, the conflict has pushed 70 million people globally closer to starvation, making Kubrakov’s work essential. Since July his ministry has shipped more than 3 million tons of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports to vulnerable countries facing food shortages in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. “Allies help Ukraine in the fight against #RussianAggression, Ukraine helps the world fight famine,” Kubrakov tweeted in August.

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Write to Vera Bergengruen at vera.bergengruen@time.com.

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