Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is inflicting damage to the country’s infrastructure at a cost of $4.5bn (£3.6bn) a week as bombs tear through thousands of buildings and public utilities, and miles of road.
According to estimates compiled by the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), and supported by the Ukrainian government, the total amount of direct infrastructure damage has reached $92bn since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion in February.
Academics said the figure rose by almost $4.5bn in the week to 2 May, adding that their estimate is probably lower than the true cost because losses from the war are hard to quantify.
With losses since the invasion having risen to about 60% of annual economic output, the researchers said Ukraine was suffering heavy damage to infrastructure that will be expensive to repair or rebuild. The KSE said its project, Russia Will Pay, was based on analysis of thousands of reports of damage caused during the invasion, which have been submitted by citizens, government agencies and local authorities.
The snapshot showed that the bulk of the infrastructure costs relate to bomb damage inflicted on buildings, roads, factories and businesses, based on the open-source data project to track the cost of the war.
More than 33,000 sq metres of residential buildings have been hit by missiles, bombs and suffered other damage during the war, worth almost $30bn in total. More than 23,000km of road have been ripped up or pockmarked by shelling, and almost 90,000 cars, worth billions of dollars combined, have been damaged.
The KSE said the overall economic costs of the war – when damage to infrastructure is taken with the impact on GDP, the cessation of investments and the outflow of workers as millions flee the country – could rise to $600bn, almost four times the value of annual GDP.
The figures compare with estimates made by the World Bank in mid-April, which suggested that physical infrastructure worth about $60bn had been damaged, a figure that was expected to continue rising.
Last month, the International Monetary Fund said Ukraine’s economy would probably contract by about 35% this year, while the loss of life, destruction of infrastructure and exodus of workers would severely impede its economy for many years to come, even if the war ended soon.
Boris Johnson, who addressed the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday, suggested in March that Ukraine might need a “new Marshall plan”, referring to the US aid package used after the second world war to help rebuild the economies of Europe.
The IMF has provided $1.4bn in emergency financing to help meet Ukraine’s immediate spending needs, while the World Bank is mobilising financial support worth about $2.5bn.