NewsWorldBlood, treasure and chaos: the cost of Russia's war in Ukraine

Blood, treasure and chaos: the cost of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has left tens of thousands of dead, displaced millions and sown economic strife across the world.

Following are the main impacts of the war as it enters its seventh month:

* DEATH

Since Feb. 24, 5,587 civilians have been recorded as killed and 7,890 as injured, though the actual casualties are much higher, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Aug. 22. https://www.ohchr.org/en/news/2022/08/ukraine-civilian-casualty-update-15-august-2022

Most of those killed or injured were the victims of explosive weapons such as artillery, missile and air strikes, the OHCHR said.

Separately, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said on Aug. 22 that nearly 9,000 Ukrainian military personnel had been killed in the war, the first death toll provided by the military top brass since the invasion. Read full story He provided no details.

Russia has not said how many of its soldiers have been killed.

U.S. intelligence estimates that some 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far in Ukraine and three times that number wounded – equal to the total Soviet death toll during Moscow’s occupation of Afghanistan in 1979-1989.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014 after a pro-Russian president was toppled in Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution and Russia annexed Crimea, with Russian-backed forces fighting Ukraine’s armed forces.

About 14,000 people were killed there between 2014 and the end of 2021, according to OHCHR, including 3,106 civilians.

https://www.ohchr.org/en/news/2022/08/ukraine-civilian-casualty-update-22-august-2022

*MISERY

Since Feb. 24, one third of Ukrainians – which has a population of more than 41 million – have been forced from their homes, the largest current human displacement crisis in the world, the United Nations Refuge agency has said.

There are currently more than 6.6 million refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe, with the biggest numbers in Poland, Russia and Germany, according to the agency’s data.

https://www.unhcr.org/ua/en/internally-displaced-persons

* UKRAINE

Besides the human losses, Ukraine has lost control of around 22% of its land to Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, according to Reuters calculations.

It has lost a swathe of coastline, its economy has been crippled and some cities have been turned into wastelands by Russian shelling. Ukraine’s economy will contract by 45% in 2022, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have estimated. Read full story

The true dollar cost to Ukraine is unclear. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in July that the total rebuild after the war would cost approximately $750 billion. It may be much more.

It is unclear how much Ukraine has spent on fighting.

* RUSSIA

The war has been expensive for Russia too – though it does not disclose the costs, which are state secrets.

Besides the military costs, the West has tried to punish Moscow by imposing severe sanctions – the biggest shock to Russia’s economy since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia’s central bank now forecasts that the $1.8 trillion economy will contract by 4%-6% in 2022, less than the 8%-10% contraction it forecast in April. Read full story

Still the impact on Russia’s economy is severe – and not yet fully clear. It has been excluded from Western financial markets, most of its oligarchs are sanctioned, and it is experiencing problems sourcing some items such as microchips.

Russia last month defaulted on its foreign bonds for the first time since the calamitous months following the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. Read full storyRead full story

* PRICES

The invasion and Western sanctions on Russia led to steep rises in the prices of fertiliser, wheat, metals and energy, feeding into both a brewing food crisis and an inflationary wave that is crashing through the global economy.

Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, wheat, nitrogen fertiliser and palladium. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, international oil prices LCOc1 spiked to their highest levels since the records of 2008.

Attempts to reduce reliance on Russian oil, gas and oil products – or even to cap their prices – have exacerbated what is already the most severe energy crunch since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.

After Russia cut flows through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany, prices for wholesale gas soared in Europe.

A complete cut off would tip the euro area into a recession, with sharp contractions in both Germany and Italy, according to Goldman Sachs.

* GROWTH

The International Monetary Fund now forecasts the world’s economy will grow 3.2% this year, down from 6.1% last year, and significantly lower than its April forecast of 3.6%, its January forecast of 4.4% and its October forecast of 4.9%. Read full story

Under a “plausible” alternative scenario that includes a complete cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe by year-end and a further 30% drop in Russian oil exports, the IMF said global growth would slow to 2.6% in 2022 and 2% in 2023, with growth virtually zero in Europe and the United States next year.

* WESTERN WEAPONS

The United States has provided about $9.1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Feb. 24 including stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armour systems, 155mm Howitzers and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear protective equipment. https://media.defense.gov/2022/Aug/09/2003052810/-1/-1/0/UKRAINE-FACT-SHEET%e2%80%93AUG-8.PDF

(REUTERS)

 

 

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