Inna Sovsun: Putin has stolen a year of my life
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February 24 marks the grave first anniversary of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Since Vladimir Putin’s troops first breached the border, hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed, over eight million Ukrainian women and children have been made refugees, billions have been poured into arming the resistance and trillions have been knocked off global economic output. The costs are as far-reaching as they are harrowing. Express.co.uk has compiled the numbers behind 365 days of conflict.
The human cost
According to the latest data from the United Nations (UN), 8,006 civilians were confirmed to have died in Ukraine since the war began, while 13,287 had been injured. The organisation cautions true figures are likely to be substantially higher.
Women accounted for 39.9 percent of all casualties, and at least 487 children lost their lives, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has said. Nearly 18 million people are thought to be in dire need of humanitarian assistance, as 14 million have been displaced from their homes.
A total of 8,087,952 people had been displaced and temporarily resettled across Europe as of February 21, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The breadth of familial ties between the two countries means Russia has, controversially, taken in the lion’s share of this total at 2,852,395. Ukraine’s western neighbour, EU member state Poland, ranked second with 1,563,386.
Just over a million refugees travelled further to Germany, while just under half a million opted for the Czech Republic. The UK’s emergency humanitarian visa schemes had enabled 162,700 Ukrainians to settle in the country as of January 27.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 15 reporters and other media workers were killed in Ukraine in 2022.
Homes, infrastructure and energy grid
The bricks and mortar that make up Ukraine’s physical capital have been devastated by the conflict. The Kyiv School of Economics estimates the cost of infrastructure damage to be $138billion (£115billion).
Missile strikes and urban fighting have taken a heavy toll on the country’s housing stock, to the tune of $54billion (£45billion). Back in August, Ukraine’s Defence Ministry estimated 140,000 buildings had already been fully or partially destroyed.
Infrastructure – from city streets to major highways, the rail network and airports – is as crucial for military mobility in war as it is for civilians in daily life. A top target for the Russian invader, Ukraine’s infrastructure has required $35.6billion (£30billion) in repairs.
And repair the Ukrainian people have. Side-by-side photos comparing buildings last March to today reveal the impressive scale of reconstruction efforts across the country.
The Kremlin’s campaign to knock out Ukraine’s energy supply ahead of winter may have failed, but $6.8billion (£5.7billion) in damage was estimated to have been done.
READ MORE: Putin has taken ‘all necessary decisions’ should West enter war
Russia boasts one of the largest armies in the world, with just under 850,000 active military personnel. Last week, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said his department estimated 97 percent of Russia’s entire armed forces were currently deployed in Ukraine. This figure is notably bolstered by the roughly 50,000 recruits of the mercenary Wagner group.
Ukraine has long been outgunned in this respect, with a total fighting force of 200,000 at latest count. With the flow of information from the battlefield so tightly controlled by both sides, accurate casualty figures are hard to come by – but most agree Ukraine is faring far better.
In late January, Norway’s Chief of Defence, General Eirik Kristoffersen, forecasted 180,000 casualties on the Russian side to 100,000 for Ukraine. Subsequent US intelligence put the total number of Russian soldiers killed or injured in Ukraine at 188,000.
Acknowledged deaths from the belligerent government come in far lower than this. Russia hasn’t recognised losses since September 21 – when defence minister Sergei Shoigu admitted 5,937 Russian soldiers had died since the conflict began. In early December, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said up to 13,000 of their troops had been killed.
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February 24 marks one year since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine with no clear end to the brutal war in sight.
Now Russian mothers and wives are taking to social media to decry Putin’s war, turning against the President one year into the conflict.
Posts have emerged on VKontakte (VK), Russia’s version of Facebook, deploring the deaths of loved ones as unnecessary on pages set up to remember some of the thousands of men who have died what one grieving mother described as “Putin’s meat grinder”.
Read more HERE.
Aid and political support
According to the Kiel Institute, a non-profit research group, a total of £54.6billion in military aid had been committed to Ukrainian forces between January 24, 2022 and January 15, 2023.
This includes roughly 600 tanks, hundreds of artillery batteries, dozens of advanced missile systems, over 20,000 portable rocket launchers, hundreds of drones and around 50 helicopters. Fighter jets are next on Ukraine’s wishlist, as strong voices within the British Government call for the UK to lead the way in making this happen.
The US is the standout leader in terms of hardware sent and pledged to Ukraine – their £39billion contribution making up two-thirds of the total alone. The UK has been a consistent second in this regard, with £4.3billion dedicated to the cause.
A similar picture plays out when financial and humanitarian aid are factored in. The US once again leads the way with over £64billion in total aid, followed by EU institutions (£26billion) and the UK (£7billion). All told, countries the world over have sent £122billion to Ukraine’s plight.
These promises have come off the back of a torrent of political support for Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky. In the past week alone, US president Joe Biden, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez have all made appearances in Kyiv to show their support ahead of the anniversary.
Nine world leaders have shaken hands with Mr Zelensky in Ukraine in 2023 alone, while 49 high-ranking officials made the trip in 2022. UK officials have proven the most dedicated, with six visits in total, including three by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and one by the incumbent Rishi Sunak.
Alongside guaranteeing money continued to flow into Ukrainian coffers, NATO and its allies were quick to impose sanctions in a bid to ensure Russia’s war chest ran dry. These centred on Russian exports of hydrocarbons – the primary credit to Moscow’s federal budget.
Historically, the EU had imported around 40 percent of its gas supplies from Russia. By the end of 2022, the European Council claimed this proportion had fallen to less than 15 percent. In December, the West approved a price cap on Russian oil, supposedly costing the Kremlin around $175million (£140million) a day, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
Losses in Europe may have been blunted by increased exports to China, India and Turkey, but sanctions still hit the Russian economy hard – falling by 3.9 percent in 2022 in the worst-case scenario. The OECD forecasts a further decline of 5.6 percent in 2023.
As for Ukraine – the theatre of war – the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the economy to have contracted by over a third throughout 2022.
Economies the world over have also suffered from the disruption to peacetime. Energy price-driven inflation has soared across Europe, the international oil market has been thrown into disarray and billions in military hardware has met its end in Ukraine’s battlefields.
Back in September, the OECD estimated the total cost of the Ukraine war to the global economy to be $2.8trillion – that’s £2,300,000,000,000.
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