Beyond Ukraine’s stunning recent battlefield successes, eight months of war have rendered the country a physical, financial and economic basket case. Millions of refugees have fled, the country’s gross domestic product has shrunk by about one-third, and the government, its budget depleted by the war, runs monthly deficits of $4 billion or more — mainly financed by Western grants, a lifeline for teachers, retirees living on pensions and millions of others.
Even if Russia were to withdraw now, Ukraine would remain enfeebled for years. Before Russian President Vladimir Putin rained missiles on Ukrainian power plants and other facilities this month, the cost of repairing damage to the country’s critical infrastructure had already been estimated at nearly $200 billion, according to a study by the Kyiv School of Economics. And that is just a fraction of the overall wreckage wrought by Moscow’s indiscriminate attacks.