What has two years of war cost Ukraine and Russia?

As of Feb. 24, it has been two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The military, human, and economic toll of the war has been immense.

While the front line has not moved dramatically in recent months, both sides are losing soldiers and weapons. Military casualties are shrouded in secrecy, but analysts put the death toll at more than 60,000 combined, and likely much higher. At least 10,000 civilians have been killed, according to United Nations figures, the bulk of those deaths in free and occupied Ukraine.

The war has delivered a devastating blow to Ukraine’s infrastructure and economy. Russia has shown remarkable resilience despite punitive sanctions.

Why We Wrote This

The war in Ukraine has tallied massive costs in lives, money, and materiel not just for the combatants, Ukraine and Russia, but also for much of the world. It will take years before restoration is even within reach.

Russia made only modest battlefield gains in 2023, while Ukraine struggled to reverse territorial losses. Buoyed by oil money, Russian President Vladimir Putin remains determined to annex southern and eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy aspires to retake all lost territory, including Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014. Neither a cease-fire nor negotiations are in sight. The war seems likely to grind on.

For a game-changing breakthrough, Ukraine needs beefed-up support from the West. But that is not a given amid increasing resistance from right-wing politicians during a big election year for the United States and the European Union.


Kiel Institute, United Nations, Institute for the Study of War, Mediazona, Reuters, Oryx


Jacob Turcotte/Staff

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