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Ukraine is losing the economic war

Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty

“The Ukrainian army may be winning,” says Niall Ferguson in Bloomberg, but the Ukrainian economy is losing. The country’s GDP is expected to have shrunk by 33% by the end of the year; inflation is at 24% and rising; “unemployment is at Great Depression levels”. Fighting has caused nearly $100bn in damage to housing and infrastructure, according to the World Bank, with “total losses from the shuttering of business at $252bn”. Tax revenue now covers just 40% of government spending, with Kyiv in need of about $5bn a month in foreign aid just to cover non-military costs. What it’s receiving from allies falls far short of that. “The Europeans are the main culprits”: the EU has delivered only €1bn of the €9bn it promised in May.

The war has now entered its seventh month, which, given the history of state-on-state conflict, gives it a “roughly one-in-three chance” of lasting between two and five years. With the morale of the Russian army flagging, Kyiv “cannot afford to lose economic stability” in the months ahead. If America and Europe “step up their support” – financial as well as military – Ukraine could mark the first anniversary of the invasion by driving Russia even further back. Without proper foreign assistance, “a winter of discontent” will confront Ukrainians with the harsh reality of a long, drawn-out struggle for national liberation.