Sunday, December 3, 2023

War in Ukraine: six months of conflict summarized in nine key figures

Six months after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the conflict does not seem close to ending. He gets bogged down, even. The consequences of the war are already heavy. Human toll, amount of aid granted, fall in Ukrainian and Russian GDP: update on the Kremlin’s “special operation”, in nine key figures.

13,212 civilian casualties

There is no overall assessment of the civilian victims of the conflict. On August 15, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recorded a total of 13,212 civilian victims in Ukraine. In detail, the specialized UN agency counted 5,514 dead and 7,698 injured.

However, the actual numbers could be much higher. In Mariupol alone, a city in southeastern Ukraine besieged by Russian troops from the start of the offensive, this tragic toll should be exceeded. “We can say that between 20,000 and 22,000 people died in Mariupol”, declared on April 12, the Ukrainian governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kirilenko. This is a “major war crime”, according to the European Union.

75,000 Russian soldiers wounded or killed

In six months of Russian invasion, 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers have also been killed in exercise, said Monday the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zalouzhny. This is one of the rare declarations of Ukrainian officials about military losses in kyiv in this war.

On the Russian side, the mystery is well maintained. On July 21, the boss of the CIA, William Burns, assured that 15,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in action, and 45,000 others wounded. This figure could even be underestimated. US intelligence estimates that “more than 75,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured,” Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said on July 27.

For its part, the Kremlin assures that these figures are false. On April 7, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskow, however, recognized “significant losses”, without quantifying them.

6.6 million refugees in Europe

The war in Ukraine has forced civilians to flee. In its latest report, published on August 19, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), identified 6.6 million refugees across Europe.

According to the agency, nearly a third of Ukrainians have been driven from their homes since the start of the war. More than 7.1 million people are believed to be displaced within Ukraine.

125,000 square kilometers occupied

Before the start of the Kremlin’s “special operation”, pro-Russian forces controlled nearly 43,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory, in Crimea and Donbass. Since February 24, the pro-Russian forces have notably advanced to the north. The city of Kharkiv is thus still the subject of daily bombardments, reported the Ministry of the Armed Forces in a situation update on August 18.

Russian forces are also progressing to the east but their advance remains slow. To the south, they are seeking to strengthen their position in Crimea. Since June 2, the Russian army has tightened its grip in the east of the country. This is its priority objective. Since the start of the war, Russian forces have taken about 20% of Ukrainian territory, or nearly 125,000 square kilometers. Over time, the front line stabilized.

84 billion euros in aid

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered an unprecedented international solidarity movement vis-à-vis kyiv. Between February 24 and August 3, at least 84.2 billion euros were spent by forty-one countries, mostly Western, according to data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

The United States is by far the biggest contributor. In total, they spent 44.5 billion euros; that’s almost a third of Ukraine’s 2020 GDP. On Friday, the Pentagon announced a new tranche of military aid to Ukraine amounting to $775 million. This aid includes, in particular, additional missiles for the American Himars precision artillery systems. According to an American official, Washington should announce this Wednesday a new aid of 3 billion dollars to Ukraine.

$750 billion for reconstruction

The cost of the reconstructions promises to be even more astronomical. On July 4, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal estimated that $750 billion would be needed to rebuild his war-torn country.

The European Union intends to pay its share. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced that Brussels will create a structure responsible for coordinating efforts to rebuild Ukraine.

Ukrainian GDP cut by 50%

The war is also weakening the Ukrainian economy. According to the latest forecasts from the World Bank, the country’s GDP is expected to contract by almost 50% this year.

Half of Ukraine’s economy would be destroyed. “The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis triggered by the war is staggering,” said Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia on April 11. More worrying: the magnitude of the contraction could be higher, depending on the duration and intensity of the war.

Russian economy down 4%

For Russia too, the dive has begun. In the second quarter, GDP fell by 4%, according to the estimate of the statistics agency Rosstat. This is the first figure for a full quarter since the start of the war.

This decrease is mainly due to the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States. The real damage will appear in the fall.

93 billion euros from oil, gas and coal exports

However, Russia can count on its fossil fuel exports. During the first hundred days of war in Ukraine, Moscow received 93 billion euros for its oil, gas and coal exports.

According to the Center for research on energy and clean air (CREA), the European Union weighed up to 61% of these cash inflows, or around 57 billion euros. France has notably maintained its supply of Russian gas, despite the sanctions imposed in other sectors.


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