There is no “Ukrainian crisis,” as so many in Moscow and the West continue to say. There is, instead, an all too real Russian war in and against Ukraine, one that Kyiv is fighting against. And Ukraine’s First Vice-Minister of Defense Ivan Rusnak in early July provided new numbers that demonstrate that tragic reality beyond any reasonable doubt.
On July 4, Mr. Rusnak described the Russian invasion and occupation forces, the losses (human and otherwise) they have imposed on his country, and the burden the Ukrainian people have been forced to bear in opposing what Moscow has done and is doing in Ukraine.
• A massive Russian invasion and occupation force: There are more than 60,000 Russian troops in Ukraine and along the Russian Ukrainian border, outfitted with modern weapons and officered almost exclusively at the top by Russian officers and generals (unian.ua/war/2009086-u-minoboroni-nazvali-chiselnist-rosiyskih-viysk-na-kordoni-z-ukrajinoyu-ta-na-donbasi.html).
• 2,700 Ukrainians killed and more than 10,000 wounded: Ukraine has suffered massive human losses as Russian forces have killed more than 2,700 Ukrainian fighters and citizens and wounded more than 10,000 in addition (unn.com.ua/ru/news/1674205-za-chas-ato-zaginuli-bilshe-2-7-tis-viyskovikh-ta-ponad-10-tis-poraneni-minoboroni).
• $50 billion U.S. in property losses: Mr. Rusnak says that preliminary assessments suggest that “in the east of Ukraine,” Russian actions have destroyed “objects of energy, transportation and social infrastructure” worth about $50 billion U.S. (economics.unian.ua/finance/2009076-blizko-50-milyardiv-u-minoboroni-pidrahuvali-sumu-zbitkiv-vid-ruynuvannya-infrastrukturi-na-donbasi-cherez-agresiyu-rf.html).
• An ever-increasing defense burden on Ukraine: This year, the vice-minister says, Ukraine spent 64 billion hrv ($2.46 billion U.S.) and plans to spend even more next, 74 billion hrv ($2.85 billion).
Paul Goble is a long-time specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia who has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau, as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The article above is reprinted with permission from his blog called “Window on Eurasia” (http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/).