Two years of war in Ukraine: scenarios, casualties, costs and strategies

Elizabeth Smith

A handful of statistics underscore the second anniversary of the war initiated by Russia in Ukraine since February 24, 2022. This grim milestone continues to capture attention, particularly in these days, despite the overshadowing of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict since October 7, 2023, by the tenth war between Israelis and Palestinians.

Furthermore, this anniversary must be viewed in a broader context, stretching back almost a decade, as Russia annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian territory, in February 2014, largely ignored by the West at the time.

The Russian advancement in Ukraine

At the moment it is estimated that Russia controls 17% of the Ukrainian territory. I.e. a very small increase – when compared to the war efforts – given that even before the invasion large parts, in particular of the Donbass, were in fact already under “guardianship” of Moscow: parts that can be assessed in 7% of the territory of Kiev.

In fact, when it comes to territorial conquests, we are at a standstill. The failure of the Ukrainian counteroffensive (spring, summer, autumn) has not been matched by a significant Russian advance.

Ukrainian victims and Russian victims

Having said that the inhabitants of Ukraine on the eve of the invasion wanted by Putin were 42 million 800 thousand and that now at least 8 million have been displaced in Europe, it is estimated that the Ukrainian civilians killed by Russian raids are over 10 thousand between of which 600 children.

As for the military, “according to US officials the Russian army would have suffered the heaviest losses, with 120,000 dead and 170,000–180,000 wounded, compared to 70,000 dead and 100,000– 120,000 injured in Ukraine”.

Figures to be compared to the size of the opposing armies: less than half a million soldiers for Ukraine, more than 800 thousand soldiers for Russia.

These figures are defended, on both sides, for propaganda reasons. The Ukrainian armed forces, which publish daily bulletins of Russian casualties, indicate that Moscow’s soldiers died in Ukraine at over 300 thousand.

The cost of gas

In two years the price of gas has dropped by 62%. On February 24, 2022, when Russia began the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting ongoing conflict, the TTF contract in Amsterdam expiring in March 2024 was trading at 59.581 euros per megawatt hour.

Today, however, it is priced at 22.695 euros per megawatt hour. Thus marking a daily drop of more than 2 percentage points. Having said that these reductions are not reflected, as would be logical to expect, in a fast and proportional manner in the bills we are asked to pay every month, the gas figure serves to remind us of the paradoxical effects of the conflict unleashed by Russia and the resulting sanctions.

Damage reported by Ukraine: 486 billion dollars

The damage from the start of the war to the end of last year was estimated at 486 billion dollars in the Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment conducted by the World Bank together with the Ukrainian government, the European Commission and the UN, with a reconstruction effort lasting ten years old.

Around 6.5 million people have left the country (six million in European countries, 500 thousand in Canada and the United States) and 3.5 million are internally displaced.

There were 16 journalists killed, but there are 80 if we also consider the journalists who died at the front, as reported by the Union of Ukrainian Journalists.

And 5,400 educational and cultural institutions and medical facilities were destroyed. Ten percent of housing in Ukraine was partially damaged or destroyed, i.e. (data are from the International Organization for Migration) almost 1.4 million houses are damaged, a third of which is considered irreparable.

Displaced people from Ukraine

Among the primary European destinations for Ukrainian refugees, are Germany, which has welcomed 1.4 million refugees, Poland, hosting 956,000, Great Britain, with 250,000, and Spain, providing refuge to over 192,000 individuals.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has emphasized that nearly 8.5 million people will rely on its assistance in 2024, necessitating $3.1 billion in funding. Only ten percent of this amount has been allocated thus far.

In that same year, the United States emerged as the largest contributor to the Ukraine relief fund, pledging over $1 billion. Which accounts for nearly 37.5% of the total sum. Additionally, the European Union allocated another $328 million, representing approximately 12.1% of the overall assistance.

Read also: The Russia-Ukraine war also takes place on Musk’s Starlink

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