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August 4, 2022

The Price of War: Russia’s War on Ukraine Costs $8.9T at Five-Months

  • At the five-month mark, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has the heavy cost of US$8.9 trillion conservatively, a loss equivalent to more than four times the entire annual income of all Canadians. The estimates include human costs of $4.7 trillion, concentrated in Ukraine, but affecting people worldwide as the impacts of the war spread, according to a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.
  • Author and C.D. Howe Institute Fellow-in-Residence Dan Ciuriak tallies the economic costs and suggests how to quantify the human costs of Putin’s “special military operation,” providing a comprehensive overview of the all-in costs of the war that have already been effectively booked over the politically relevant medium-term.
  • The author draws on available estimates of the value of a “statistical life” (VSL) and by derivation of a statistical life year (VSLY) to provide a sense of the scale of the rarely quantified human costs, which include: the toll of dead and wounded; the effect of war trauma in Ukraine; and the spillover effects on third parties, which include the tipping of tens of millions in Sub-Saharan Africa into extreme hunger, the heightened stress posed by the threat of nuclear war, and the shared or vicarious trauma visited on individuals worldwide in this, the first social media war.
Dan Ciuriak

Dan Ciuriak is Fellow in Residence with the C.D. Howe Institute. He also holds fellowships with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (Waterloo) and  the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (Vancouver) and is Director and Principal, Ciuriak Consulting Inc. (Ottawa).