February 24th will mark one year since Russian tanks under the instructions of President Vladimir Putin rolled into Ukraine in what was the start of Moscow’s full-blown invasion of its neighbour. Perhaps Putin thought that invading Ukraine, its smaller neighbour with a population 100 million less than its own would have been a walk in the park. Remarkably, though, Ukraine has survived as a sovereign state although it continues to suffer from round-the-clock artillery bombardment from Russia.
Russia’s war has caused the deaths of thousands of civilians, the emergence of millions of refugees and extensive damage to electricity and other critical infrastructure in Ukraine. Charges of ware crimes have also been leveled at the Russian army for what some report are deliberate and unprovoked attacks of civilian targets in Ukraine.
However, countries far beyond Ukraine’s borders are feeling the negative effects of the war. Currencies of dozens of countries have depreciated drastically against the United States dollar, which has raised the cost of imports. Russia’s war is causing business closures, job layoffs and poverty all over the globe.
Even before the war, the global economic recovery from COVID-19 galvanised the market for commodities. Pent-up demand from national lockdowns and colossal economic stimulus programmes drove rapid inflation. These negative tendencies were intensified by the war.
But Russia’s oil output has been largely unaffected by the military conflict and the ratcheting up of sanctions have, so far, had a muted effect on Russia’s “resilient” energy supplies, according to the International Energy Agency. For the most part, Moscow has managed to reroute European pipeline exports to emerging market countries like India, China and Turkey — albeit at discounts relative to market prices.
The long and short is that, until Ukraine’s allies in the West step up their financial and materiel support for the war, or until Russia gains the footholds it seeks, there is no end in sight to Putin’s war.