By Guy Faulconbridge
LONDON – Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine left tens of thousands dead, displaced millions and sparked economic strife across the world.
Here are the main impacts of the war, which is now in its ninth month:
The war has sown death on a level not seen in Europe since the Second World War.
From February 24 to October 2, 6,114 civilians were reportedly killed and 9,132 injured, although the actual figures are much higher, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on October 3.
“Most of the recorded civilian casualties were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide area of effect, including heavy artillery bombardment, multiple rocket launchers, missiles and airstrikes”, a- he added. OHCHR said.
Ukraine did not specify how many of its soldiers were killed. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on September 21 that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the war.
Both Ukraine and Russia claim the other side suffered devastating losses. Reuters was unable to verify either side’s battlefield claims.
The US Chief General estimated on November 9 that Russia and Ukraine each had seen more than 100,000 of their troops killed or wounded. “A lot of human suffering,” Army General Mark Milley told the Economic Club of New York.
Milley said the conflict has so far turned between 15 and 30 million Ukrainians into refugees and killed probably 40,000 Ukrainian civilians.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in 2014 after the overthrow of a pro-Russian president in Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, with Russian-backed separatist forces fighting Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Around 14,000 people were killed there between 2014 and the end of 2021, according to OHCHRincluding 3,106 civilians.
Since February 24, a third of Ukrainians have been driven from their homes, the largest current human displacement crisis in the world, the UN refugee agency said. Ukraine has more than 41 million inhabitants.
There are currently more than 7.8 million registered Ukrainian refugees across Europe, with the highest numbers in Poland, Russia and Germany, according to agency data.
Besides the human losses, Ukraine has lost control of around 22% of its territory to Russia since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, according to Reuters calculations.
It lost part of its coastline, its economy was crippled and some towns were turned into wastelands by Russian bombing. Ukraine’s economy will contract by 45% in 2022, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have estimated.
The true dollar cost to Ukraine is unclear. It is not known how much Ukraine spent on the fighting.
The war has also cost Russia dearly – although it does not disclose the costs which are state secrets.
Besides the military costs, the West has tried to punish Moscow by imposing harsh sanctions – the biggest shock to the Russian economy since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Russia’s central bank last month improved its GDP forecast for this year at a contraction of 3 to 3.5% compared to a decline of 4 to 6% previously expected. At the end of April, he had planned GDP shrink 8-10%.
The Ministry of Economy predicts a contraction of 2.9% this year and a decline of 0.8% in 2023.
Still, the impact on the Russian economy is severe – and not yet entirely clear. It has been shut out of Western financial markets, most of its oligarchs are sanctioned, and it has problems sourcing certain items such as microchips.
Russia has defaulted on its foreign bonds for the first time since the calamitous months following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
The central bank warned that the partial mobilization could fuel longer-term inflation. The central bank changed its end-of-year inflation forecast to 12-13% from 11-13%.
The invasion and Western sanctions against Russia have led to sharp increases in the prices of fertilizers, wheat, metals and energy, fueling both a brewing food crisis and an inflationary wave sweeping across the Mondial economy.
Russia is the world’s second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest exporter of natural gas, wheat, nitrogen fertilizers and palladium. Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, international oil prices rose to their highest level since record highs in 2008.
Attempts to reduce dependence on Russian oil, gas and petroleum products – or even cap their prices – have exacerbated what is already the most serious energy crisis since the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.
The war has reduced global growth while an energy crisis in Europe could tip Europe into a deeper crisis, according to Goldman Sachs, which expects the GDP growth will slow to 1.8% in 2023.
The United States has provided more than $18.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since February 24, including Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armour systems, 155mm howitzers and protective equipment chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear.
A total of around 52 billion euros in military, financial and humanitarian aid had been pledged to Ukraine on October 3 by countries around the world, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Russia says Western supplies of advanced weapons to Ukraine end up on the black market and then into the hands of extremist and criminal groups in the Middle East, Central Africa and Asia.