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DALL·E 2024-05-30 15.20.05 - An abstract image representing the contrast between fake and

Debunking false narratives about Ukraine and Russia's war against it



Russian propaganda disseminates a lot of narratives about Ukraine that are favourable to it and portray Ukraine in a rather bad light. Russia is especially active spreading false narratives ahead of the EU elections, trying to mislead the voters and make them favour pro-Russian candidates. We will now debunk the most important theses of the Russians, why this is not the case, citing authoritative sources.

Supported by:


“Delivering weapons to Ukraine escalates tensions with Russia, it will eventually drag Europe into the war.”

The opposite is true: Supporting Ukraine with arms deliveries contributes to deterring Russia from aggressive actions against neighbouring countries, the EU and NATO. As was pointed out by Claudia Major of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, “The prospect of a long war of attrition or a Russian victory should worry us just as much, if not more, than Putin's possible reaction. Putin could then learn the lesson that war is worthwhile, that the West does not seriously defend itself and that (nuclear) blackmail is successful.”[1] French president Emmanuel Macron declared that “If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe. Who can pretend that Russia will stop there? What security will there be for the other neighbouring countries, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and the others?”.[2]


Putin sees the former Soviet Union countries and particularly areas where Russian speakers live as part of the “Russian world”, in which Moscow has a right to intervene to protect Russian speakers.[3] In fact, Russian aggression against Moldova is already underway. As pointed out by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian media, the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign minister himself, and the Transnistrian separatist Regime (a Russian proxy) have already made statements analogous to those made to justify the war against Ukraine, namely that Russian speakers need protection from Moscow against discrimination and human rights violations, and that the Moldovan government is a puppet of the US and the EU. The motives appear to be analogous as well: “The Kremlin sees Moldova’s EU candidacy status as unacceptable, just as it saw Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU in 2014 as unacceptable.”[4] Russia also directly undermines the Moldovan government by openly supporting anti-EU and anti-Western propaganda efforts from a Pro-Russian Moldovan fugitive oligarch, Ilan Shor.


Similarly, Putin has threatened the Baltic countries over their policies towards the Russian minority as well as the destruction of Soviet-era monuments.[5] The Kremlin represents the latter as indicating a return of Nazism, another pattern familiar from its anti-Ukrainian propaganda.[6] Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan (hosting a large Russian minority, especially in the north) are now observing Moscow’s behaviour with concern. Since Russia is a threat not just to Ukraine, it is noteworthy that a successful defence of Ukraine lengthens the time that NATO allies have left to rebuild their own armed forces to protect themselves against further Russian aggression and hybrid threats (cyberattacks, foreign interference and manipulation of information).[7]



“Rather than delivering weapons, we should talk to China to try to influence Russia to end the war.”

China has no interest in putting pressure on Russia to end the war against Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is in China’s interest to the extent that it forces the United States to focus on Europe rather than on containing China’s aggressive behaviour in the Pacific region. China aggressively pursues its goal of dominating the South China Sea at the expense of its neighbours.[8]  It has been found to violate international law by the “Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague” in a dispute brought by the Philippines already in 2016, but refuses to honour this ruling. Furthermore, it continues to threaten Taiwan. In case of a conflict with the United States and its allies, Russia would be a crucial ally, not least to circumvent economic sanctions. China likely also favours a Russian victory because it wants to challenge the US-dominated international order more generally.


The economic interdependence between China and Russia serves as a double-edged sword in the geopolitical landscape. China currently benefits from access to Russian oil and gas at favorable rates, and the majority of imported basic goods in Russia now go through China. China benefits and gains a lot of soft power, Russia becomes dependent. The willingness to change this power dynamic isn’t there yet.


At the current juncture, Western governments should rather focus their diplomatic efforts on limiting China’s support for the Russian weapons industry. According to declassified US intelligence, apart from buying Russian oil and gas, China supports Russia with deliveries for crucial equipment of its weapon production, including missile and drone engines and 90% of the microchips imported by Russia. Russia could not have ramped up its weapons production the way it did without China’s help.[9]


“If we cross the red lines, Russia might use nuclear weapons.”

Using nuclear blackmail is not a precedent in Russian history. This tactic falls back into the times of the Cold War when in 1959 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev told the then-US ambassador in 1959, “The West seems to forget that a few Russian missiles could destroy all of Europe.” Bluffing is an often-used Russia’s tactic.[10]


The risk of escalation always exists, the same as the risk of Russia repeatedly attacking Ukraine if the conflict is allowed to be frozen or a peace agreement is undersigned on Russia’s terms.


The idea of ‘red lines’ is a theoretical construct of Western countries. Since the start of the war, the West has already crossed several of those red lines, first by delivering artillery and rockets and later by delivering tanks. On all these and other occasions there was a debate about whether any of these steps meant crossing a red line. Similarly, Ukraine has launched drone attacks deep into Russian territory and destroyed large parts[11] of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The likelihood of nuclear weapons being used goes up,[12]  not down if Ukraine falls. If Putin is marching on Warsaw, on Hamburg, on Brussels both sides might resort to the use of nuclear weapons. If we bow before Russia’s nuclear blackmail, this would be a signal to other aggressive nuclear states like China that they can freely attack their sovereign neighbours, since such attacks have no consequences. As ISW puts it, refusing to accept any risk of nuclear use ‘is a policy of permanent and limitless surrender to nuclear-armed predators’,[13]  where aggressive nuclear states are encouraged to become more aggressive, while the rest are tempted to acquire nuclear arms to excuse their aggressiveness.






“Russia cannot lose this war, it is too strong. Overall, one cannot win a war against nuclear power”

The Russian army is not invincible


“Russia can lose. And it should lose, for the sake of the world — and for its own sake”, - Timothy Snider, Professor of History and Global Affairs at Yale University.


An argument frequently encountered when discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine is that resisting Russia is pointless since its military might and, in particular, its nuclear capabilities render its defeat impossible.


The image of the undefeatable army goes back to the Soviet times, when in 1970 its leader Leonid Brezhnev created a cult of Victory Day, to celebrate the victory of the ‘invincible’ Red Army over Nazi Germany.[14] In this sense, Vladimir Putin is not original: as he has little to suggest to his population sinking in poverty and inequality, the notion of a ‘great past’ and a promise to restore the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union are the only ways to keep Russian population controlled.


To start with, the Russian army is not a Red Army, as Russia is not a USSR. The soldiers from Soviet Ukraine constituted a significant share of the Red Army troops,[15] and Ukrainian soldiers took huge losses.[16] Now Russia is fighting not with Ukraine but against it.


Moreover, the Soviet Army was not invincible. It lost a Russo-Polish war in 1919-1920, a Winter War against a much smaller population of Finland in 1939-1940 and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979-1989 failed.


When looking at the history of the Russian army outside of the USSR context, it appears to be not unbeatable either. Even if not taking into account the failure of Russia to achieve any of its military goals in Ukraine, it also happened to lose the First Chechen War of 1994-1996, even with a significant prevalence of manpower and armoury.


Failing to win on the battlefield, Russia bets on the power of its disinformation campaign. Russia intends to make the West see the world the way Russia wants it to see it. This way, Russia aims to impact the decision-making of the Western leaders and later win in the real world. Thus, Russia being an unbeatable enemy is one of the founding components of this disinformation.[17]

Nuclear powers are not invincible either


While it is true that the Russian Federation has nuclear capabilities and a large conventional army, history has shown on several occasions that nuclear powers are not invincible and that they can and do lose wars.


The United States famously lost the Vietnam War in 1955-1975 despite its immense military capabilities and its status as a nuclear power. In Afghanistan, two wars ended with the defeat of a nuclear power. As mentioned earlier, the Soviet army failed in Afghanistan in 1979-1989, and the NATO engagement in Afghanistan 2001—2021 was unsuccessful. Russia lost the war to Ichkeria while being a nuclear state as well.


The West has advantages over Russia


As ISW puts it, “The West is a giant that – at times – behaves like a mouse when it comes to Russia. All it needs to do is stand up.”[18] The joint GDP of NATO coutries is nearly 32 times bigger than that of Russia.[19] NATO’s military capacities greatly outweigh that of Russia in terms of aircraft and naval power.[20] On paper, Russia’s ground combat is more competitive, but it is not clear what is the state of that equipment. We repeatedly witnessed how Russia was using outdated weaponry in an inoperable condition in the warfare against Ukraine.[21] Although Russia tries to replenish its production capacities by getting closer to Iran and North Korea, these states can only offer limited support. China is enabling Russia, but it is unlikely it will ever provide major backup for Russia.[22]


The current power dynamics and economic potential are on the side of the West and Ukraine, but the West needs to mobilize its potential to ensure the victory of Ukraine. To mobilize means to increase its military production capacities, to use current military and economic capacities more actively and effectively, and to build its strategy not based on constant risk avoidance but on acceptance of a certain degree of risk to be able to avoid even higher costs and risk in the future.[23]


Russia losing the war is for the good of the world and its own good


Russian victory would open up Pandora’s box of the darkest scenarios: from the full occupation of Ukraine, the larger war in Europe, to the aggression of China and other authoritarian regimes against its sovereign neighbours, the world where power is more important than the international legal order, the spread of nuclear weapons and weakening of democracy.[24]


However, not only does the world need Russian defeat, but Russia also needs it. Russian war against Ukraine is an imperial war, which is based on the denial of Ukraine as an independent state and Ukrainians as a separate nation. Russia losing this war will sooner or later lead to the fall of the last empire in Europe. Many European and world empires turned into democracies by losing colonial wars.[25] In the past, defeat in the wars brought some degree of liberalization in Russia as well. Russian Empire losing the Crimean War led to the end of serfdom (Russian analogue of slavery), and Soviet failure in Afghanistan resulted in Gorbachev’s reforms, putting an end to the Cold War and eventually the end of the USSR.[26]


Russia’s defeat in the war would lay the ground for a post-imperial country and give a chance for reforms. If one wishes to see Russia as a more democratic state, he should support Russia’s defeat.















 “In April 2022, Russia and Ukraine were close to agreeing on a deal on a ceasefire, but Western governments blocked it.”

This claim is a pure myth. Russian and Ukrainian delegations indeed started negotiating shortly after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion. In fact, Putin has used negotiations in the past as an opportunity to regroup and strengthen his forces for further attacks on Ukraine.[27] At the same time, Russia demanded the unconditional surrender of Ukraine, which was unacceptable. During negotiations on 29 March 2022 in Istanbul mediated by Turkey, the Russian delegation continued to make unacceptable demands. Specifically, it asked for the size of the Ukrainian army to be limited to 85000 soldiers and their equipment limited to short-range weapons.[28] "Basically, Russia wanted to force Ukraine to surrender," says Nico Lange, Russia expert of the Munich security conference. "If Ukraine had done what was written in this Russian draft - which was not a united draft - then it would have been defenceless against the next Russian attack."[29] Contrary to Ukraine, Russia has never presented a realistic roadmap towards peace.





“NATO bears part of the blame for the invasion of Ukraine because it planned to offer Ukraine membership, which provoked Russia.”

The German and French governments had blocked steps to advance the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to NATO at the Bucharest summit in 2008.[30] Neither in 2014 nor 2022 was there any sign that this stance would change and that a “Membership Action Plan” (MAP) would be negotiated. Besides, the opposite could be argued: if Ukraine had been a member of NATO already in 2014, the Russian invasion may never have happened. Indeed, after the decision to deny Georgia and Ukraine a MAP in 2008, Russia invaded Georgia that same year and still occupies 20% of its territory.



“The West provoked Russia by expanding NATO to include former Warsaw Pact members after 1990. The USSR was given a promise that an expansion of NATO would never happen.”

This is a myth: no legally binding agreements were made in 1990 while negotiating the peaceful end of the Cold War between the USSR and the West. Some sources like former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas claimed NATO pledged not to move closer to the former Soviet Union. This claim however was denied by ex-U.S. Secretary of State James Baker who was also present during negotiations." Even Mikhail Gorbachev, the then-president of the USSR, has made contradictory statements. In one interview in 2014, he confirmed “The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. … Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement was made in that context… Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled.”[31]


Furthermore, in 1997, NATO declared that no substantial combat forces would be stationed on the territory of the new Eastern European members as long as the security environment would not change. Correspondingly, there were virtually no NATO combat forces in these countries until the invasion of Ukraine in 2014.


More generally, it is not clear why Russia would feel threatened by NATO at all. Clearly, since 1989, the inclination in NATO countries has been to use resources previously devoted to the military for civilian purposes (the so-called “peace dividend”). In particular, according to the figures of the SIPRI institute, by 2001, NATO’s absolute real military expenditures had declined by one-fourth. Due to the subsequent military buildup of the US as part of its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, they then increased, but by 2014 they were still no higher than in 1989, while they were still 14% below their 1989 level outside of the US. Only after the invasion of Ukraine did NATO military expenditures rise again.[32]




“Ukraine is a country divided between Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers. Eastern Ukrainians who are predominantly Russian speaking would rather be part of Russia.”

According to an opinion poll from May 2014 by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 70% of Eastern Ukrainians and 58% of Russian-only speakers in that region wanted Ukraine to remain one country.[33] Another poll from 2013 found 70% of inhabitants of the Donbas region identify as Ukrainian.[34] The pro-Russian separatists claim to represent the majority of the population in Eastern Ukraine is thus false. Furthermore, in 1991, 92% of Ukrainian voters voted for independence from the Soviet Union in a referendum. The corresponding results for Donetsk and Luhansk were 77% and 84% in favour of independence, respectively.[35]


Moreover, there is a lot of evidence that the separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine starting in 2014 was manufactured by Russia. There was little local support. Demonstrations of the separatist “Donetsk People’s Republic movement” consisted mainly of Russian nationalists bussed across the border.

Furthermore, the leader of the “Donetsk People’s Republic’s” government was the public relations advisor of an imperialist Russian oligarch who is saying on the record that Ukraine is part of Russia and the Ukrainian state is an artificial creation. His former Security Chief and former military intelligence officer Igor Strelkov commanded the separatist forces. The Vice Premier had long been an active Russian nationalist with links to Alexander Dugin.[36] It is also worthwhile to point out that people whose native language is Russian play prominent roles in the Ukrainian government, including the President himself and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces Oleksandr Syrskyi, who was born in Russia to ethnic Russian parents.[37]

36. See “Putin’s People”, by Catherine Belton (2020), pp. 423-427

"If Ukraine joins the EU, all current countries will have to pay more and receive less."

Dispelling the Myth: Ukraine’s EU Accession will cost us billions


In the discourse surrounding Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union, a persistent misconception has surfaced, suggesting that the integration of Ukraine would impose a financial burden on existing Member States. Critics argue that the accession would necessitate higher contributions from current countries while diminishing their benefits. However, this narrative overlooks the multifaceted advantages that Ukraine’s membership would bring to the Union.


Economic Contributions Outweigh Costs


The financial implications of Ukraine’s integration are far less daunting than presumed. Estimates indicate that the cost could amount to €186 billion over seven years,[38] which translates to a mere 0.13% of the total EU budget. This figure is modest for a bloc of the EU’s economic stature, especially considering that a portion of these funds would circulate back into the EU economy. European companies engaged in EU-funded projects within Ukraine would not only contribute to the nation’s development but also stimulate economic growth within the EU itself.[39]


Ukraine was also said to have a “strong macro-economic record” and was demonstrating a “noteworthy resilience with macroeconomic and financial stability” despite the war, Ukraine is resilient and would contribute a strong economy to the EU.[40]


Trade, Migration, and Investment: A Trifecta of Benefits


The accession of Ukraine to the EU promises significant economic benefits for both parties. Elimination of barriers and harmonization of standards will bolster trade, particularly in oils, minerals & ores, and fish, stabilizing prices and benefiting existing businesses. Increased access to critical resources will make the EU more able to hold its own in a world in which many new tariffs are emerging (China, USA, etc.).


Free movement of skilled labour from Ukraine addresses workforce shortages and drives innovation, with a highly educated populace specializing in IT, engineering, and healthcare. The application of the Temporary Protection Directive allowed more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees to get full access to the EU job market. The temporarily protected Ukrainians in the EU are quickly integrating and finding employment (in some countries over 2/3rd are already working).[41] So far, this has not caused any major disruptions in the EU job market. “It is clear that as long as Ukrainian workers fit the labour demands in the receiving EU countries, they could fill the gap in the labour supply and complement rather than replace local workers.”[42]


Before the war, Ukraine was already a beneficial investment destination. According to USAID, 89% of the companies who invested in Ukraine before the 2022 full-scale invasion were either meeting business goals (49%) or exceeding them (40%).  These figures show the promise of Ukraine’s reconstruction for future investors. Andy Hunder, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine has commented on it: “Now is the right moment to begin looking at Ukraine as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity. The biggest national recovery project in Europe since World War II is already underway and will gain considerable further momentum in the months and years ahead”.[44]  Cooperation in rebuilding Ukraine not only aligns with moral imperatives but also brings economic deals and growth to European companies.[43]


Food Security in an Era of Climate Change


In the face of climate change and its impact on agricultural yields, Ukraine’s integration would significantly bolster the EU’s food security. It is known as the “breadbasket of Europe,” as it includes around a third of the world's most fertile land.[45] Ukraine’s fertile lands and agricultural prowess would provide a reliable source of foodstuffs, mitigating the risks associated with erratic harvests and ensuring a steady supply of essential commodities.


EU enlargement has been commonly accompanied by agriculture-related concerns. However, most of the accessions have also brought CAP reforms to accommodate new Member States.[46] The integration of the Ukrainian agricultural market would eventually resolve one of the current EU farmers’ concerns: Ukrainian cheap agricultural exports lower the market prices. This price gap is partially explained by Ukraine having lower environmental regulations within the sector. With the accession of Ukraine, there would be increased competition within the EU. Ukraine’s imports and exports would be beholden to the EU’s market and adhere to the EU standards, meaning it would no longer be an external threat to the Member States.


Moreover, Ukraine can contribute to EU strategic autonomy and food security by reducing the EU’s import dependence on such product categories as animal feed and fertilisers. Ukraine is a major supplier of feed grains and vegetable proteins, such as soybeans.[47]


Access to Critical Minerals


The EU stands to significantly bolster its strategic interests through securing access to Ukraine’s abundant mineral reserves. With substantial deposits of graphite, lithium, and other critical minerals vital for the production of batteries, smartphones, semiconductors, and pharmaceuticals, Ukraine’s accession promises a stable supply of these pivotal resources.[48] This not only diminishes the EU’s reliance on external sources but also augments its technological and industrial prowess.[49] Amidst a global landscape marked by "decoupling from China," "nearshoring," and escalating trade tariffs, a secure supply of critical minerals emerges as the paramount defence against protectionist measures.


Next to that, the plans by European institutions to build its electric vehicles industry would be facilitated by the input of Ukraine’s resources and production capacities, rather than, for instance, being used as a front for Chinese investments after the war ends.[50]


A Vision of Shared Prosperity


The narrative that Ukraine’s accession to the EU would be a financial drain is a myopic view that fails to account for the broader economic and strategic benefits. The initial investment, representing a fractional 0.13% of the EU budget, is projected to decrease over time. In return, the Union would gain a partner that contributes to greater prosperity, trade, opportunities, and security for all Member States. The integration of Ukraine into the EU is not a question of cost but an investment in a shared and thriving future based on common values and ideals, as it was always initially designed.

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“Ukraine is corrupt. Sending aid to Ukraine is useless since one cannot be sure where the money goes”

Progress in the fight against corruption in Ukraine


Although Ukraine indeed faced challenges in establishing a transparent and accountable governance system, since the 2014 Euromaidan revolution, Ukraine has made significant progress in tackling corruption recognized by international observers.[51] According to the corruption perception index of Transparency International, Ukraine has become substantially less corrupt since then, and improvement has continued even after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion in 2022.[52] From 2022 to 2023, Ukraine has improved by three points in the Corruption Perceptions Index(CPI), which is one of the strongest improvements seen in the world (CPI 2023).[53]


In particular, one of the key measures in Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts was the establishment of several specialized institutions:

  1. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) was created in 2015 to investigate high-level corruption cases.

  2. The Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) complements the NABU and is tasked with prosecuting the cases investigated by NABU.

  3. The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) was formed to oversee the implementation of anti-corruption policies and to monitor public officials’ declarations of assets.

  4. The High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine (HACC) was established in 2019 and is dedicated to handling corruption cases fairly and free from political influence.[54]

  5. The Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA) tracks and seizes or repatriates stolen state assets.[55]


In addition to these new institutions, an electronic public procurement system was launched in 2016. The system named Prozorro is intended to make public procurement more​ transparent and competitive. It has received international acclaim and has helped save millions of euros in public funds by preventing rigged bids.[56]


Apart from the establishment of new institutions, the implementation of a series of reforms has been essential in Ukraine’s fight against corruption.

  1. Candidates for judicial positions have to undergo a vetting procedure performed by the NACP.[57]

  2. An electronic asset declaration system has been implemented to monitor public officials’ private assets.[58]

  3. The anti-corruption strategy facilitates the cooperation between different state bodies in their fight against corruption.[59]

Other important actors in tackling corruption are civil society organizations and independent media. Organizations such as the Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC)[60] and investigative journalists play an important role in exposing corruption.

Corruption under the crosshairs


Although a lot of action and investigation of corruption might create a negative image, it is a sign of improvement. This is because officials are being held accountable for corruption rather than corruption sliding under the table. Now that corruption is openly challenged in all areas of the government it makes it much harder for corrupt individuals to hide and continue to be corrupt.


Oversight of foreign aid


The aid to Ukraine undergoes constant oversight. The US alone has more than 400 personnel working across the US, Germany, Ukraine and Europe to audit US assistance to Ukraine.[61] So far, according to the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, no major fraud has been reported.[62]


The fight against corruption is an ongoing and critical aspect of Ukraine’s political, social and economic landscapes, all political actors are focused on this goal.




“Supporting Ukraine creates a financial burden for the European taxpayers, we cannot afford such expenditures”

Funding Ukraine is an investment, not a cost


The longer spending on Ukraine is put off, the more it is going to cost in the long run. If Russia is successful in their goal of capturing Ukraine and moving West, the cost of war will grow exponentially.


Considering aid to Ukraine as an investment, not a cost, gives an understanding that it is not just an investment in another country but also in the West’s own security and self-interest. Mainly, it contributes to greater security in the region by weakening Russia. After almost two and a half years of the large-scale war, Russia lost nearly half of the combat effectiveness of its army by losing much more ammunition on the frontline than it could produce and dealing with the significant casualties, nearly 300,000.[63]  Therefore, Ukraine has significantly degraded Russia’s military power and its ability to threaten NATO allies without any losses of any American or European active-duty military personnel.


Current allocations


Even though allocations to Ukraine might seem big, when calculating them as a percentage of countries’ GDP, it occurs that the biggest contributors (USA, the EU, Germany, United Kingdom) delivered aid for around 0,3%-0,5% of their GDP. In comparison, much smaller countries on Europe’s eastern flank, such as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia contributed between 1,14-1,55% of a country’s GDP.[64]


Expenditures on the Ukrainian refugees


After the beginning of the Russian large-scale invasion, more than 10 million Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes. While 6 million Ukrainians were internally displaced, approximately 4 million fled the country and the majority (90%) settled down in Europe. All European countries opened their borders to Ukrainians and hosted them under the legal framework of “temporary protection” that predicted some allocations on accommodation, healthcare, and other services, as well as subsidies. The European countries that hosted the biggest number of Ukrainian refugees since March 2022 carried the biggest total costs estimated at EUR 21.44 billion for Germany, EUR 20.73 billion for Poland, and EUR 5.35 billion for the Czech Republic.[65] Spending on support for refugees has started significantly declining since the middle of 2023. On the contrary, the revenue contributed to states’ coffers by Ukrainians is growing. According to data from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic[66], the balance of income and expenditure in support of Ukrainian refugees was already equal in 2023, however, in the first month of 2024 alone support for refugees cost CZK 0.9 billion, but the state received CZK 1.9 billion from insurance premiums and taxes. Moreover, among almost 340,000 Ukrainians under temporary protection in the Czech Republic, 120,000 are economically active workers. Currently, 4 out of 5 Ukrainians found employment that helped the Czech Republic to solve a long-term labour shortage. According to the March 2024 report of Deloitte and UNHCR,[67] refugees from Ukraine as workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and taxpayers have a positive impact on economic output, which will increase in the long run. Thus, the report discovers that refugees from Ukraine contributed 0.7-1.1% to the Polish GDP cumulatively in 2023, and in the long term, this effect will grow to 0.9-1.35% as the Polish economy fully adjusts.


Alternative scenario


Ukraine is highly dependent on financial and military aid from its foreign partners. Without sufficient support, Ukraine would most likely be defeated by the much surpassing human and financial capacities of Russia. It would not just throw away everything that has been committed so far (not least, Ukrainian lives) but also pose the real risk of another large-scale war in Europe with higher escalation risks and higher costs which hardly can be predicted. Cutting aid to Ukraine would not freeze the frontlines,[68] it would instead diminish Ukraine’s ability to hold off the Russian military and accelerate Russia’s confidence and military drive to move further and further west. Thus, the US and European NATO states will likely face a Russian military deployed along the NATO eastern border and face enormous costs and risks in deterring further Russian aggression against NATO itself. According to the Former UK Defence Minister James Heappey, Ukraine’s defeat would cost the West $3 trillion.[69] The Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)[70]  calculated that the annual cost of the containment of Russia in case of the defeat of Ukraine would be something beyond $100bn-$130bn for the US and $100bn–$150bn for other NATO nations. Moreover, it would also require the deployment of troops. Based on the example of the 20th century Cold War, the US had around 435,000 troops and personnel across Europe which shrunk to 62,000 by 2018. The British Army had four divisions stationed in Germany, and approximately 60,000 active duty soldiers in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) compared to today’s (2023) entire number of active duty soldiers in the British Army – 76,000. That is true for all European countries. Germany’s Zeitenwende already tacitly acknowledges that its armed forces are in very poor condition.



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