World News

Russia Has Spent More Than $200 Billion On Ukraine War, Official Says

Russia has spent more than $200 billion on the war in Ukraine since first invading in February 2022, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Friday morning.

That number includes only the direct expenses from equipping, deploying and sustaining Russian troops and military operations in Ukraine and is higher than previous open source estimates, the defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on a call. The U.S. also estimates the war has cost Russia more than $10 billion in canceled or postponed armed sales and as much as $1.3 trillion in lost economic growth that could have been achieved through 2026.

“In terms of total financial cost to Russia, Russia has probably spent up to $211 billion in direct financial outlays to equip, deploy, maintain and sustain Russian operations in Ukraine,” the official said.

“This comes on top of the personnel costs,” the official added.

A report by a U.S.-funded research group from December estimated the minimum direct cost of Russia’s war at 10 trillion rubles, equivalent to roughly $109 billion.

The official spoke on the heels of the 19th meeting of defense ministers from around the world intended to coordinate military assistance for Ukraine, now nearing the two-year mark of fending off Russia’s invading forces. It was the second such meeting in which the U.S. was not able to promise additional security aid, as Congress wrestles over a complicated and divisive government funding bill that would authorize the Pentagon to pledge more aid.

Biden administration national security officials and members of Congress who back Ukraine funding have ratcheted up warnings about the cost of U.S. inaction, arguing that Ukraine cannot sustain the fight without U.S. assistance.

“And let’s not forget about those air-defense interceptors. The U.S., along with our allies and partners, but critically U.S. resources, have supported Ukrainians in being able to defend their cities against this continual barrage of Russian missiles,” the official said Friday.

Without funds, “we will not be able to continue to supply Ukraine’s air defenses, and we will see the results in cities being bombarded, and we will see more civilians dying and we will see Ukraine struggling to protect their critical infrastructure and their forward line of troops,” the official added.

Outnumbered Ukrainian forces are running dangerously low on munitions and other critical materials, particularly in the area surrounding Avdiivka, where a fierce battle has been raging for months, the official confirmed. Military commanders ordered a partial withdraw from Adviivka on Thursday as Russian forces closed in further, The Associated Press reported.

“We see this as something that could be the harbinger of what is to come if we do not get this supplemental funding,” the official said.

The Senate passed a $95 billion funding bill that includes aid for Ukraine, but it’s currently stymied in the House as Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has not brought it to a vote, The Washington Post reported.

U.S. estimates put the number of Russian soldiers killed or wounded since the invasion at 315,000, the official said.

Ukrainian forces have also “sunk, damaged or destroyed” at least 20 medium and large Russian Navy vessels and a Russian-flagged tanker in the Black Sea, the official said.

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Micaela Burrow

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Micaela Burrow

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