Ukraine puts the economic impact of the war on its territory at more than 500,000 million euros | International

Ukraine begins to measure the economic impact caused by the Russian invasion since the end of February. Aware that international organizations —and in particular the European Union— are beginning to set aside funds for the reconstruction of the country, even with the open conflict, the Government of Ukraine is already outlining its first figures. An estimate by the Ministry of Economy, together with the prestigious Kyiv School of Economics, shows a cost of between 532,000 and 566,000 million euros in these almost three months of war. The calculation includes damage generated both directly and indirectly, since the decrease in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the cessation of investments, the departure of labor or the extra cost in Defense or in the sector has been estimated. Social. These losses represent about three and a half times the GDP of Ukraine, which is 155,000 million euros, and almost half that of Spain, which is about 1.2 billion euros. The amounts approved so far by the donor conferences that have been held for Ukraine pale in comparison to the Marshall Plan demanded by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.

At street level, citizens deal with the harsh reality of these figures while trying to recover their former life. In the Borodianka Town Hall Square, 50 kilometers from kyiv, fifty people dance to the sound of live music amid the waving of national flags. Many of the attendees are dressed in the traditional local shirts embroidered with threads of many colors. It is the technique known as vishivanka, which celebrates its day every May 19. Meanwhile, another fifty neighbors buy at a market set up in the same place. The vendors, invited by the mayor in an attempt to resuscitate the economy as soon as possible, are forced to set up their stalls, sometimes leaving a space for the holes left by the bombs, reminiscent of the intense fighting of weeks ago.

At the stall of Sergei, 32, protected from the sun with a cloth in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag, you can buy almost anything. From preserves to hygiene products. “We have more customers than before the war because the shops are closed, but those who come to buy take fewer things,” he explains.

Parallel to the estimates of the global losses in the economic sphere —and which are felt in the Ukrainian streets—, the authorities keep open the so-called project Russia will pay. Thanks to this, they calculate, from the first hours of the invasion in the early hours of February 24, the damage to the infrastructures that the conflict is leaving throughout the length and breadth of the former Soviet republic. The latest update, dated this Thursday, amounts to 91,000 million euros. A third corresponds to the 31,000 million euros of losses detected in residential buildings, 28,000 million in roads (24,000 kilometers damaged), and 10,000 million in 219 industries and factories.

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The damage in the bombed houses extends for a total of 38.6 million square meters. As for the cities, Mariupol, which this week has fallen after a long siege in Russian hands, stands out above all the others. The ravages of the war leave losses worth 9,400 million euros in this city on the shores of the Sea of ​​Azov. In this case, given the impossibility of collecting information on-sitethe calculation method is essentially based on the analysis of calculations from satellite images, explains Max Nefiodov, co-head of the program Russia will pay, former Deputy Minister of Economy and former head of Ukrainian customs. Mariupol is followed in damage by Kharkiv (6,600), Chernihiv (4,000), and Sumi (1,450). List below, after airports, ports, churches, train stations, hospitals, schools, nurseries… appears one of the flagships of national pride: the Antonov plane, the largest cargo aircraft in the world, whose value amounts to about 284 million euros. His bombed-out remains lie on a military airfield in Gostomel, outside kyiv.

Beyond possible war crimes or human rights violations, the information and data that are being brought together will serve to claim the bill from Moscow, as the name of the program indicates. “We are sure that, even if it is not going to be a quick process, Russia is going to pay,” says Nefiodov in an interview conducted through the Zoom application. Ukraine, he adds, will follow the model of the claim made after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 and whose amount of 50,000 million euros has not been paid until January of this year. The project Russia will pay pursues three objectives, details the former deputy minister. First, that at all times both the Government and citizens, donors or investors know how the country is doing. Second, speed up the recovery with the distribution of necessary funds as they are needed in each region. And third, litigate to recover what was lost.

indirect calculation

In addition to the Kyiv School of Economics, the office of the president, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Developing Communities and Territories and another born in 2016 as a result of the war that has been waged since 2014 in the Donbas region, the Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories. When they do not have direct access to affected areas because they are in combat or under Russian control, Nefiodov explains that they use indirect analysis methods, such as extrapolating the damage to roads or bridges from areas where they can assess it.

The sources from which they obtain the information are very diverse: the media, the Government itself, City Councils, regional authorities, witnesses, Internet pages, groups on the Telegram social network or satellite images and drones. The figures are approximate, they acknowledge, because the current circumstances prevent a more exhaustive evaluation. Despite everything, explains Nefiodov, they never differ by more than 10% from the estimates made by the World Bank.

The market has been resumed three weeks ago in the Borodianka square. In this town of some 13,000 residents, the damage to homes assessed amounts to 285 million euros. It ranks 14th in the painful classification headed by Mariupol. At first, people were afraid to go to the stalls to buy because they were not sure if the area had been demined or was free of explosives, says Sergei, the vendor.

At her side, more pessimistic, Svletana, 35, stops attending the reporter as soon as she sees a customer approaching to ask the price of some cheese. “It’s hard to work here,” says the woman, pointing with a rueful face to the nine-storey block of flats, mowed in two by a bomb. Asked how business is going, she replies “so-so.” It is true that many buyers are not there, because in Borodianka and other towns around kyiv that were occupied for a month by Russian troops, the majority of the population still has not returned. A mute witness to what happens in the agora, like those destroyed buildings, is the bronze bust of the distinguished Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko, head down. The apparently accurate shot that looks like a memory in the left temple is not the only one.

Shots fired at the bust of the poet Taras Shevchenko on Borodianka Square.
Shots fired at the bust of the poet Taras Shevchenko on Borodianka Square.

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