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Tags: arms | ukraine | cost | sustain | war

In the Long Run, Few Can Sustain Cost of War

flags of russia and ukraine with barbed wire
(Steve Allen |

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz By Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:13 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

President Joe Biden may not have a coherent strategy in Ukraine, but he sure keeps the arms coming. Same goes for other aid: altogether at the cost to the taxpayer of approximately $25 billion, and, in addition, as much in humanitarian aid, making us the single greatest contributor to Kiyv's fight for independence.

American help accounts for about half of all aid to Ukraine.

Others supply the Ukrainians also, just individually at a much lower rate. Some assistance is humanitarian, while much consists of military aid.

Most aid comes from Europe, although countries including Japan, India, and Columbia do contribute as well, it's mostly non-lethal assistance. Cumulatively, the non-American military aid amounts to about $23 billion.

There are several nations of arms suppliers to Kiyv. First, we have the British Commonwealth countries, that is Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, which have given, respectively, $270 million for arms alone; $30 million (including $13 million for military purposes); and over $3.4 billion with $1.4 billion for weapons.

Second, there are the front line states: Poland, the Baltics, and most of the other old Soviet Bloc nations in the Intermarium, lands between the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic seas.

Third, among the arms suppliers, there is "the old Europe."

In "new Europe," it is obvious that most nations want to prevent a Russian victory over Ukraine and, certainly, any further Russian expansion westward.

Usually the level of enmity toward the Russian Federation is a function of both history and a geographic location. Routinely, it fluctuates with government changes.

Yet, there are also several fences sitters and even friends of the Kremlin. The last named is the smallest batch.

It is concentrated mostly in western Balkans. It consists of Serbia and the Serbs of Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In distinction, the neighboring Croatia and Slovenia, though not outspokenly anti-Russian, nonetheless remain critical of Moscow and supportive of Kiyv, if not too robustly. Same goes for Northern Macedonia.

Usually a reliable friend of Russia, Greece has been less than supportive of Moscow. Bulgaria tends to be Russophilic but not this time around.

Sofia banks on the U.S. and the European Union, and its government and a chunk of the population have turned on the Russians for invading Ukraine.

Fence sitters, or, perhaps more precisely, maverick players include Hungary and Slovakia. Both assist Ukraine, the latter more energetically, including by supplying arms. The Magyars refuse to do so.

Though not Slavic, Budapest enjoys rather proper relations with Moscow, with Bratislava to a lesser extent. Both want to play it safe, in case the U.S. folds and the Kremlin wins.

However, Czechia and Romania scoff at such realism and remain definitely on Russia's naughty list: they're behind only to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and, the Muscovite main bête noire, Poland. The latter has contributed over $2 billion to Ukraine's defense.

In addition, Warsaw has allowed over 7 million Ukrainians to cross into Poland. Most of them are women and children, and at least 2 million refugees have elected to remain there for the foreseeable future, necessitating social assistance that approaches nearly $10 billion.

The European Union has refused to help Poland offset the costs, even though it owes Warsaw over $39 billion from structural funds and Polish taxpayers refunds from Brussels.

On the other hand, old Europe tends to be more reluctant to assist Ukraine. The exception is Great Britain which has supported Ukraine from the start. London usually follows the lead of Washington, D.C.

That is usually not the case with others. Italy has delivered at least five batches of military aid to Ukraine for the grand total of $320 million. The last election brought in a populist-nationalist-conservative coalition and Rome continues the program of military aid, committing itself to more arms deliveries to Kiyv until 2024.

The Netherlands has helped Ukraine with weapons, at over $1.5 billion (out of almost $3 billion total). So did Scandinavia.

Finland has given at least over $200 million in 11 batches so far. Sweden's last (out of nine separate shipments) contribution stands at $287 million.

Denmark has earmarked approximately $614 million, including about $200 million in humanitarian aid so far. Norway sent over $550 million in military aid alone plus $845 million for civilian aid.

Until recently, Germany has barely coughed up anything much. However, after the last election brought in a new, leftist, government, Berlin has reconsidered its stance somewhat. It has now contributed over $2.3 billion in military aid and about $2 billion in humanitarian aid.

France was likewise amiss only to pick up pace now: about $1.3 billion in aid, including over $400 for military matters. Spain has sent $200 million in financial assistance. Even the EU has promised $3.1 billion in aid for Kiyv, including arms indirectly.

It is important to note that "old Europe" and the British Commonwealth nations are much affluent than the Intermarium countries. Thus, the latter contribute disproportionately to their wealth as far as the assistance to Ukraine.

One thing is certain: We all have been paying for this war through our nose.

Let's hope Russia desists soon. Very few can sustain the staggering cost of the conflict in the long run.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports — More Here.

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American help accounts for about half of all aid to Ukraine.
arms, ukraine, cost, sustain, war
Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:13 AM
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