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Ukraine punches above its weight, destroying $ 98.7 bn of Russian military equipment

The $300 billion in frozen Russian assets could be the game-changer Ukraine needs to expand its already impressive feat of Russian armor with smaller resources
Russian military equipment destroyed model estimates
Model estimates of Russian military equipment destroyed by Ukraine vs. the cost of weapons Ukraine is fighting with, and compared to the $300 bn of frozen assets. Infographics by Euromaidan Press
Ukraine punches above its weight, destroying $ 98.7 bn of Russian military equipment

As discussions swirl around the possibility of using the $300 billion of Russia’s assets frozen in Western banks to aid Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s war, Euromaidan Press has sought to put the number into context.

We have modeled the approximate cost of the Russian military equipment that Ukraine has destroyed based on open-source data and compared it to the worth of the weapons that Ukraine had at its disposal. 

We estimate that since the full-scale invasion of February 2022, Ukraine has destroyed $98.7 bn worth of Russian equipment. It has done this by fighting with military equipment worth $54.4 bn, of which the equivalent of $38.5 bn came from its stocks prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion, and $14.9 bn was given by its partners. 

Speaking otherwise, for every billion worth of equipment it had, it has managed to destroy nearly double that amount in Russian military assets.  
Russian equipment destroyed Ukraine war
Model estimates of Russian military equipment destroyed by Ukraine vs. the cost of weapons Ukraine is fighting with, and compared to the $300 bn of frozen Russian assets. Infographics by Euromaidan Press. Download the data

Ukraine inflicted the immense $98.7 bn losses on Russia’s army with limited resources, most of which were from its stockpiles. The $300 billion, if used to bolster Ukraine’s defense, would give it a strong advantage to defeat Russia militarily. 

Granted, our calculations have a significant degree of uncertainty.

First, the precise amount of military assets from both sides is not clear. Second, the real prices of military equipment can vary; ours are merely estimates. Third, our calculations do not factor in the military’s essential “bloodline” — ammunition — as it is presently impossible to estimate its expenditures. Neither does it account for small-scale drones, which are indispensable to the war on both sides. Fourth, if finally confiscated, the $300 bn would not automatically and immediately translate to more equipment for Ukraine: production cycles and limitations are a factor that is limiting not only Ukraine’s but also the West’s capability to defend itself against an increasingly more aggressive “axis of evil.” 

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However, we believe it is essential to stress that Ukraine is inflicting massive losses on Russia with disproportionately smaller resources. We also would like you to imagine the success it would have if the West directed these assets toward Ukraine’s victory. 

Another factor to be considered is the pure financial strain of Russia’s war against Ukraine on Western taxpayers, who are currently paying for Ukraine’s defense while the investments of Russian taxpayers are safely protected in the frozen $300 bn. 

While this help — $149 bn according to the Kiel Institute’s Ukraine aid tracker, as of April 2024 — is essential for Ukraine’s survival and we are grateful for it, the roughest of estimates shows that Russia is still spending much more: $211 as of early 2024, according to a Pentagon estimate. Ukraine will not achieve victory without the greater investment, and $300 bn is indispensable to that.

300 billion frozen assets western military aid to Ukraine
A comparison of the expenditures of Russia on its war against Ukraine, the military aid of Western nations, and the $300 billion of Russian frozen assets. Infographic by Euromaidan Press

Inside our calculations 

For the estimate of the cost of Russian equipment destroyed by Ukraine, we used the database of Russian equipment losses on Oryx, which documents open-source losses of military equipment in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

We then found the average prices of the models of military equipment listed on Oryx and calculated the losses of all the Russian equipment visually confirmed as damaged, destroyed, captured, or abandoned on Oryx. We counted damaged items as 0.5 of the price, while captured, abandoned, and destroyed were all counted as destroyed. 

Stoltenberg Kyiv NATO Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits an exhibition displaying destroyed Russian military vehicles in central Kyiv. Credit: NATO/Flickr

Further, we took the losses officially reported by Ukraine as of 16 June 2024, which are understandably greater than the visually confirmed losses by Oryx yet generally considered to be reliable as they largely correspond to estimates by Western defense agencies, and proportionately extrapolated the cost of the full extent of the losses of Russian equipment. We further added the rough estimated price of the missiles Ukraine shot down by extrapolating the price of one missile attack, counted by Forbes, to the full number of missiles shot down by Ukraine.

As of 16 June 2024General Staff: itemsORYX: items*ORYX: cost (approx)*Modelled General Staff: cost (approx)
Artillery systems13,9131252$1,723,264,863$19,149,987,252
Anti-aircraft systems853320$1,993,015,000$5,312,630,609
Cruise missiles *2,29672*$618250000*$19715305555*
Vehicles and fuel tanks18,9673338$172,327,750$979,191,263
Special equipment2,325948$1,423,702,500$3,491,675,435
Total items74,55616234$23,496,850,113$98,577,355,270

Notes: We modeled how much the General Staff’s amount of destroyed equipment would cost, extrapolating the calculated costs for the Oryx data

*Oryx does not count cruise missiles; therefore, we based our rough estimate for this item on the cost of the 2 Jan 2024 missile attack on Ukraine, calculated by Forbes (subtracting cost of Shahed drones), when 72 cruise missiles costing $618,250,000 were shot down. Download our data

To estimate the worth of Ukraine’s equipment at the time of Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, we took the equipment tally from 2022 IISS Military Balance and found the average prices for the models. We added rough estimates of the count of items where the exact number was not specified and an educated guess could be made.

For the size of the Western equipment supplied to Ukraine, we used the Kiel Institute Ukraine Aid tracker, which monitors aid delivered and pledged to Ukraine since January 2022, to sum up the numbers of publicly announced delivered tanks, IFVs, MLRS, howitzers, and air defense units. 

Download our data here

Read about the ways the $300 bn could be spent to boost Ukraine’s defense: 

How Ukraine could spend $ 300bn in frozen Russian assets to win the war


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