News, Culture & Society

ALEX BRUMMER: Ukraine’s nightmare war is devastating the country

ALEX BRUMMER: Our troubles here in Britain are nothing compared to the nightmare for Ukraine

Lives across the world have been disrupted by Russia’s brutal and unrelenting war on Ukraine. The impact on energy prices, cost of living and output has been shattering.

UK citizens have been subjected to an uninterrupted media assault about the suffering of families forced to choose between keeping warm and well fed.

It is easy to forget that the UK’s privations are as nothing compared with Ukraine. British households are protected by the energy price guarantee and a robust welfare system. 

The IMF says the Ukraine war has had a devastating social and economic impact involving substantial civilian deaths and ‘colossal’ damage to infrastructure and production

Mid-European winters are infinitely colder than ours and the culture of plenty in our supermarkets and convenience stores simply does not exist in Ukraine where there are daily assaults on infrastructure as rockets shower down on civilians.

Europe is witness to a civilisation being destroyed on its doorstep. In comparison with the United States, which is mulling a £36billion military and assistance package to Ukraine, the UK and EU are self-absorbed and doing comparatively little. 

The Economist magazine selects Ukraine as its country of the year in its holiday season issue.

It notes that since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion in February this year ‘multitudes have died. Cities have been charred. Millions have fled’.

Ukraine’s economy has lost 33 per cent of its output. That places the fractions of a percentage point downturn and near-full employment here in Britain in some perspective. 

As Ukraine’s central banker Andriy Pyshnyy told the IMF this week: ‘This is conscious energy terror to make Ukrainians suffer in cold and darkness.’ 

One wonders how our over-entitled society in Britain would now cope with the Blitz, rationing and the deprivations of WW2.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has demonstrated a Churchillian spirit. The nation’s rock stars, boxing ex-world champions, professors and others could have opted to flee to the West along with millions of women and children. Instead they have chosen foxholes and the frontline.

Citizens have been resilient, using melted snow for water supply as the pipes rupture. When the power goes down, light and heat is found in cafes with diesel generators.

Amid the intensifying crisis in Kyiv, the IMF is working with Zelensky to provide intense monitoring of the economy. 

The Fund says that the war has had a devastating social and economic impact on the country involving substantial civilian deaths, the relocation of more than one-third of its population and ‘colossal’ damage to infrastructure and production.

Output is forecast to stabilise at its current disastrously lower level in 2023 and the battle against inflation continues with prices surging by a further 25 per cent.

The only way Ukraine can keep afloat is with outside help, which is why the package making its stormy way through the US Congress is so vital.

As is the Fund’s way, it wants to see tax revenues and administration rebuilt and Ukraine’s reserves and financial sustainability reinforced – a titanic task. It also seeks to strengthen Ukraine’s commitment to the independence of major institutions and anti-corruption measures. Doing the right thing is hard as the war persists.

The real moral dilemma for the West will occur if and when the guns are silenced. It may be advised to recall the revered British economist John Maynard Keynes on post-conflict generosity towards adversaries. But that’s a debate for another day.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



Find local lawyers and law firms at USAttorneys.com