Here are the terrible costs of Vladimir Putin’s persistent war in Ukraine
The Russian War Against Ukraine has now lasted over 100 days. It has exacerbated a critical demographic situation in Ukraine, one which saw its population drop by 52.5 million in 1991 at the time of independence. to an expected amount of 43.2 million in 2022 before the outbreak of war.
The population drop has been attributed to a low birth rate, high death rate, and emigration. During the presidency of Petro Poroshenko from 2014 to 2019, Ukraine became the poorest country in Europesurpassing Moldova in this unfortunate category.
There is no indication that the presidency of Volodymyr Zelenskyy has improved this situation, mired in corruption, an unreliable judicial system and a parliamentary system dominated by business magnates. The the whole cabinet has been changed six months after Zelenskyy was sworn in. Banks charged interest rates of over 15%but many of those who took out loans rarely repaid them.
The war radically changed this image for the worse. To date, more than 14 million people have left their homes and six million of them fled Ukraine.
A large number of Ukrainians have settled in Russia, some voluntarily, and others at the request of the occupying army.
May 2nd, BNC News interviewed Zelensky, who accused Russia to deport 200,000 children from Ukraine, including orphans and children separated from their parents by war.
Resist Ukrainian control
Russia has changed its direction from the northern area around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and from the south in the Kherson region to focus on the east. The goal is capture all Donbassthe eastern part of Ukraine which was under separatist control since 2014.
The east of this territory, the former industrial center of Ukraine with its coal and iron ore resources, separated from Ukraine in the spring of 2014. Known as Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republicsthey relied on violence and Russian support to resist renewed Ukrainian control.
For years, Russia refused to recognize them as independent states. In 2022, however, the situation has changed. Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine had committed genocide there and they had to be defended. Russia accepted their independence and chose to “liberate” them.
The tactics were deliberately destructive, with missile strikes and artillery wiping out communities before the Russian advance. Today, cities such as Mariupol and Severodonetsk, as well as many small towns, are completely destroyed.
This form of warfare ensures maximum casualties. At Mariupol, taken by the Russians on May 17, 21,000 civilians are believed to have died. In this city and others like Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, the invaders massacred civilians and left them in open graves.
Officially, however, Russia is still not at war. He is engaged in a “special military operation” in Ukraine overthrow a “neo-Nazi” regime.
And yet, from Bucha to Mariupol via Kharkiv and Severodonetsk, there have been direct attacks against civilians, against residential buildings, schools and kindergartens. It is hard not to conclude that the goal is to depopulate Ukraine and make it uninhabitable.
Rising hunger in Africa
Along the same lines, Russia expropriated grain from Ukraine and, in at least one case, exported 100,000 tons to Syria, one of his closest allies. Russia leads military operations in Syria for seven years.
In turn, the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports is preventing Ukrainian grain from reaching its markets in the Middle East and Africa: Egypt, Lebanon, Senegal, Sudan and other States cope with acute hunger. Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda and Sudan source more than 40% of their wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine.
The extension of the impact of the war to some of the world’s poorest regions also seems calculated. Putin offered to open ports like Odessa for the transport of cereals if the international sanctions against Russia are lifted.
In short, food is used as a political weapon. The Black Sea is also heavily mined, making these deliveries dangerous.
It is clear that both inside and outside Ukraine the costs of war are already excessively high. Ukraine faces an enemy determined to destroy it, but it also has problems with its allies.
France and Germany resisted Russia’s isolation from Putin. French President Emmanuel Macron insisted that Russia should not be humiliated in Ukraine.
The statement seeks a diplomatic solution to end the war. But it looks ominously like France’s recognition of Russia’s right to intervene in neighboring territory.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also been reluctant to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons and has been described by opposition leader Friedrich Merz as “a miserable friend” of the occupied country.
Ukraine faces a struggle for survival. Its population could drop to 30 million by the end of the war, with cities destroyed, crops expropriated and thousands more killed and injured. It needs unified and committed support.