What is the cost of the war? 77 billion to Russians, 100 billion to Ukrainians

According to Forbes, which often makes such calculations, the invasion of Ukraine has now cost the Russians 77 billion euros.Picture AP

It might not be your average day in war, but on Tuesday, October 10, the Russians used 84 cruise missiles and 24 drones in a single attack on Ukraine. The weekly Forbes calculated that this cost Moscow somewhere between 375 and 660 million euros. One day. The margin is so wide because it is not clear which missiles the Russians used exactly. For example, a Kh-101, the most expensive, costs 12.2 million euros. A Caliber missile, which the Russians also use a lot, has a price tag of 6.1 million. Other options: an Iskander (2.8 million), Onyx (1.2 million), Kh-22 (0.9 million) or a Totzhka-U (0.3 million).

These are huge amounts of money, especially when you consider that the war has now been going on for almost ten months. According to Forbes, who often make such calculations, the invasion of Ukraine has now cost the Russians 77 billion euros. It is a quarter of the total budget that the country normally has to spend in a year: for 2021, the revenues for the Kremlin were 320 billion euros.


If you try to break down all these war billions, they are divided into countless expenditure items. For example, the Russians fire between ten and fifty thousand shells a day. The average price is 950 euros each. This means that 5.1 billion were spent on these types of projectiles alone. More than 4,000 missiles have also been launched so far, at an average cost of 2.8 million each.

Besides, of course, everything is destroyed by the Ukrainians. They shot down almost three hundred planes (17 million each) and as many helicopters (9.7 million each) from the air. It has already cost the Russian Air Force a total of around 8 billion euros. The Russians would also lose 40 million euros a day in tanks and armored vehicles. They suffered the biggest blow on April 14. Then, in the Black Sea, the Ukrainians sank the Moscow, the flagship of the Russian Navy. In a short time, more than 700 million disappeared in the waves.


Meanwhile, the costs incurred by the invading troops themselves continue to mount. A soldier earns 200,000 rubles a month, which is about 3,000 euros. It is not entirely clear how many Russian soldiers are involved in the war in Ukraine in total (probably well over a million), but last autumn’s additional mobilization of 300,000 men has only made it more expensive. According to some calculations, the wage costs of the combat troops so far amount to 2.5 billion euros. An average soldier would cost 200 euros a day. Things also need to be financed behind the front: think about salaries for local authorities in the occupied territories, logistics or storage of materials. This would also cost another 50 to 100 million per day.

On top of that are the amounts paid out to the families of fallen and wounded soldiers. A family that has lost a son or daughter will receive more than 100,000 euros. For families of seriously injured people, it is just under half. Because it is again not clear how big the losses are, it is difficult to estimate the costs. That would amount to almost a billion euros per month, with a sharp increase in recent months (when Ukrainians successfully counter-attacked).

Huge support

The above information is far from complete. It’s about discretion. And because the Russians, of course, do not themselves provide information to Western analysts, a major caveat is in order. The same applies, in a sense, to figures for the costs Ukraine incurs for its armed forces. In recent years, since the 2014 war, Kiev has nevertheless spent a lot of money on building and strengthening the army. And that while Ukraine is one of the poorest countries in Europe. It has already received help from the West, which has dug even deeper into its pockets since the start of the war.

The Institute for the World Economy (IfW) of Kiel, Germany, listed military aid to Ukraine in the past year. For example, the Americans have delivered (or promised) 22.9 billion euros in weapons and equipment from February to November. They are by far the biggest donor in absolute numbers. All kinds of war equipment are pouring into Ukraine via Eastern Europe: from drones to howitzers (artillery guns), from Javelins (anti-tank missiles) to Stingers (anti-aircraft missiles) and from the dreaded Himas (mobile launchers for long-range missiles). ) to millions of balls. Great Britain is second with 4.1 billion. This is followed by Germany (2.3 billion), Poland (1.8 billion) and Canada (1 billion). According to a statement from the Ministry of Defence, the Netherlands has provided 323 million euros. This includes a field hospital, heavy equipment (including tanks) and ‘air defense augmentation missiles’.

A whole lot more

Ukraine’s neighbors give relatively the most money. While the United States has so far spent 0.1 percent of its gross domestic product on aid, this is e.g. much higher for Estonia (1.3 percent) and Latvia (1.1 percent). It shows how threatened these countries feel by Russia. In total, including military, financial and humanitarian aid, the EU has so far donated or pledged almost 52 billion euros and the US just under 48 billion euros, according to the IfW. That is approximately 100 billion in total. And considerably more than the 77 billion that the magazine Forbes of Russian expenditures.

Forbes draws, among other things, the following conclusion: “At the moment, the Russian budget is still sufficient to cover the direct military costs of the war, while Ukraine will not see the money. But in the long run, the war will be more expensive for Russia than any other post-World War II conflict.”

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