The scenario of a lightning war did not take place: the invasion of Ukraine by Russia reaches its 100th day on Friday. Mired in this conflict since February 24, Russia has seized 20% of Ukrainian territory, particularly in the Donbass region (east) and its strategic city of Severodonetsk. After the failure to bring down the government in kyiv, the Russian forces are concentrating on the eastern territories where a war of attrition is now being played out, marked by heavy material losses. Unsurprisingly, the conflict at the gates of Europe has created humanitarian and economic damage.
Three months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 6,659,220 Ukrainians have fled their country, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Among them, 3.6 million headed west, to Poland, the main country of arrival. At the beginning of March, around 100,000 people a day were arriving at the Polish border, but the number slowed to around 20,000 during the month of May. Far behind Poland, Romania welcomed a million people, slightly more than its Hungarian neighbor (700,000). Among the neighboring countries, Moldova and Slovakia bring up the rear, hosting 500,000 and 400,000 people respectively.
In total, nearly 3 million Ukrainian refugees have left the countries bordering Ukraine, where they had flocked after the Russian invasion, to move to other non-neighboring European countries, the UNHCR said.
Many countries have placed themselves at the bedside of Ukraine, particularly in terms of military aid. Conscious of the Russian superiority in terms of means and manpower, the members of NATO took part in the armament of its neighbor, attacked by Russia. Unsurprisingly, the world’s top military power widened the gap, with the Americans releasing $25.8 billion in military aid to Ukraine, according to the Kiel Institute for the World economy.
On Thursday, the new US ambassador to Kyiv, Bridget Brink, pledged that the United States would help Ukraine “resist Russian aggression”, speaking for the first time from the Ukrainian capital after the reopening of the embassy mid-May.
Far behind, the United Kingdom, Poland and Germany are participating in the Ukrainian war effort by transferring respectively 2.5, 1.6 and 1.5 billion dollars in military aid to the government in kyiv. In the ranking of the largest providers of military support to Ukraine, France comes in ninth position, behind Estonia and Latvia, with 200,000 million dollars.
After three months of conflict, the material losses are significant on both sides. Let’s start with the most impacted: the Russians. According to the losses documented by the Oryx site, 749 tanks in Kremlin colors were destroyed. Within Vladimir Putin’s troops, infantry fighting vehicles have paid a heavy price with the disappearance of 825 aircraft. Added to this are 413 armored vehicles that went up in smoke. In the air, the toll is just as heavy: thirty planes missing, 30 planes destroyed.
Substantial Russian losses according to Philippe Gros, senior researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research, who reviews Russian military capacity in L’Express on June 3: “As for equipment (tanks and armored vehicles), the losses reach levels of 50% of the volume of armament initially committed in February (e.g. a minimum of 750 tanks lost, documented by open sources, out of an initial total estimated between 1300 and 1600).The Russians are therefore already stretching their stocks of reserve to maintain their capabilities. Even drones, vital for recognizing a target and hitting it, would start to run low.”
On the Ukrainian side, losses are also to be noted on the military level. The army was cut by 187 tanks and 130 infantry fighting vehicles. Regarding unarmored vehicles, the toll is particularly high, with 295 decimated devices against 118 for Russia.
The war in Ukraine has caused the price of certain foodstuffs to rise, wheat in the lead. The “breadbasket” was ablaze with Vladimir Putin’s invasion and the price of soft wheat soared. While on March 1, it is displayed at 316 euros per ton, its price swells to reach 438.25 euros on May 17, according to official data released by Terre-Net. In recent days, the price of wheat has been falling: it fell to 382.5 euros per tonne this Thursday, June 2, still well above its initial price.
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Ukraine is expected to see its wheat production fall by 40% for the 2022-23 season, the Grain Association of Ukraine said on Wednesday (June 1st), while exports are expected to fall by 50%, due to the war with the Russia. This association, which brings together producers and exporters of cereals, said it expects a harvest this season of 19.2 million tonnes of wheat, “significantly lower than the record” of the 2021-2022 season, where it harvested 33 million tonnes. .
The war in Ukraine exposed the dependence of European nations on Russia for energy, giving rise to vast national debates. During Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Western governments continued to massively ship Russian fossil fuels to keep their economies running. In first place, Germany. Our neighbors across the Rhine imported 6,831 million euros of Russian gas and 2,004 million euros of crude oil during the first two months of the conflict. The second largest importer of Russian fossil energy, Italy, which bought 4,783 million euros of gas from Russia, still in the first two months of the conflict.
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In addition, some states demand liquefied natural gas from the Kremlin, like the Netherlands, which imports 1,446 million euros over a similar period. France does not escape Russian dependence, since it has imported 1,726 million euros of gas, 903 million euros of liquefied gas or even 622 million euros of crude oil. In 2021, the bill for European imports of Russian oil (80 billion euros) was four times higher than that of gas purchases from Russia. Thursday, June 2, the European Union approved a sixth package of sanctions against Moscow including an oil embargo. The end of an era?