When I was much younger and still lived in my hometown I was training two local female volleyball teams.
There was also a local team for men with disabilities. We had some friendly matches. Most of the men, then in their 50s to 60s, had had amputations. Some due to accidents but most due to the second world war. But even with only one leg or one arm they beat my teenage girl teams without much problems.
After such matches I often sat down with the men and talked about the war and the consequences it had for them. They had all done well and were living more or less normal lives. But many more who had been wounded like them had killed themselves or died young due to the long term consequences of their wounds.
The numbers further down remind me of those men.
Yves Smith looks at Ukraine's future:
The Coming Ukraine Collapse and the “Rebuilding” Headfake
Its economic prospects are terrible and all the talk about 'rebuilding' it is mostly nonsense:
Now after that introduction, to the main event of the exceedingly poor economic prospects for what will be left of Ukraine… which is not even known. It’s pretty remarkable to see chipper talk in the West of rebuilding Ukraine, since it presupposes there will be a meaningful Ukraine left. It’s reminiscent of children discussing how much of an ailing parent’s wealth they expect to carve up when the process of dying could well wipe out the remaining assets.
When the war is over Ukraine will be a bankrupt and largely empty country. Yves quotes Michael Vlahos who mentions a piece by the intel-connected Jamestown Foundation about Ukraine's population numbers.
I searched for and found it:
Ukraine’s Manpower Requirements Reaching a Critical Threshold
The piece was published two months ago and its numbers are grueling. Here are some snippets:
Considering that Ukraine has a population of about 20 million citizens, and given that the most recent data on the number of people mobilized into the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was last announced more than a year ago (at the time, it was reported that more than 1 million people had been mobilized), some estimates can be made based on how many new brigades have been created, the approximate number of those wounded and the calculations of the Ukrainian Ministry of Veterans Affairs regarding the potential number of combatants (up to 4 million) (Forbes.ua, July 8, 2022; Mva.gov.ua, May 23). Keeping in mind that Ukraine’s mobilization is permanent and that many have been wounded, the estimated number of mobilized Ukrainians totals about 2 million.
What does this mean for Ukraine? It means that 10 percent of the population is now involved with the armed forces, signifying that Ukraine’s mobilization reserve is rather small, with those pensioners who did not leave the country accounting for 10.7 million people (Pfu.gov.ua, July 12). All this means that Ukraine has approached a critical threshold with its personnel needs.
Twenty million minus the pensioners minus women and children leaves maybe some 6 million men that can potentially be mobilized. But many are still needed to run the economy and keep the trains rolling. The Minister of Veteran Affairs expects that there will be, in the end, some 4 million war veterans.
The war will likely end before that number is reached.
Since at least May the mobilization campaign has reached less than half the expected number (machine translation):
During July, only about 50% of the required number of soldiers was mobilized to the training centers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which may soon lead to a decrease in the combat capability of the Ukrainian army.
This is evidenced by a preliminary analysis conducted at the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, a source in the department told Ukrainian Military Pages. A noticeable deterioration in the results of recruiting new recruits to the Armed Forces of Ukraine continues from May 2023. Especially critical problems with the replenishment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine look against the background of increasing combat losses due to the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian army in the east and south and the offensive of Russian troops in the Kharkiv region.
Recall that in June, only 50% of those liable for military service from the number who were supposed to start training in training centers to replenish the Ukrainian army were also mobilized.
That lack of forces is the background of the recent mobilization corruption scandals. People had bribed the recruiters and doctors to get exempted. They will continue to do so.
Two million have already entered the Ukrainian army. Many of those have been wounded or killed.
Due to the war the number of people with disabilities in Ukraine has sharply increased (machine translation):
During the year and a half of the full-scale invasion, the number of Ukrainians with disabilities increased by 300 thousand.
Previously, 2.7 million people with disabilities lived in Ukraine, and now this figure has reached 3 million.
This was announced by the Minister of Social Policy Oksana Zholnovych at the opening of the All-Ukrainian Center for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Persons with Disabilities, Ukrinform "Укрінформ"reports.
We can safely assume that a similar number of soldiers were killed.
Ukraine is running out of money and the minister wants to decrease social spending:
The Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Oksana Zholnovych, speaking at the International Sustainability Forum 2023 announced proposals to reform Ukraine’s social contract and social policies to aid the country’s further development.
In her opinion, in order to achieve success in the next 10 years, the state should not increase the number of existing social benefits.
Zolnovych says that it seems illogical for a veteran to earn a salary and pay tax which is later transferred back to him or her in some form of benefit. She feels that social policy should be a service that offers practical support where it is needed rather than just making payments.
Therefore, the Ministry proposes to develop these support services. Zolnovych gave examples: immigrants should be helped to adapt to their new life, find work, and integrate into society, if an individual has lost a limb, then they would receive help with finding and fitting a prosthesis, training how to use that prosthesis, and how to find appropriate work.
Some 20,000 of the wounded Ukrainian soldiers have had amputations:
There are not nearly enough prosthetic specialists in Ukraine to handle the growing need, said Olha Rudneva, the head of the Superhumans center for rehabilitating Ukrainian military amputees. Before the war, she said, only five people in all of Ukraine had formal rehabilitation training for people with arm or hand amputations, which in normal circumstances are less common than legs and feet as those sometimes are amputated due to complications with diabetes or other illnesses.
Rudneva estimated that 20,000 Ukrainians have endured at least one amputation since the war began. The government does not say how many of those are soldiers, but blast injuries are among the most common in a war with a long front line.
The lack of medical doctors in Ukraine was already serious when the war began. The war made it worse. It will now worsen even more. Starting October 1 female doctors and pharmacist will have to register for potential mobilization with the military enlistment office. Many are now fleeing the country as they fear that their travel will soon be restricted (machine translation):
Note that many doctors and nurses have long had military ID cards. Another thing is that there was no special control over the military registration of women until recently. For pharmacists, the prospect of becoming liable for military service is a novelty. And on this occasion, as the head of the association "FarmRada" Elena Prudnikova told us, the mood in the profile environment is alarming. The main thing that both doctors and pharmacists fear is the risk of being banned from leaving Ukraine.
According to Prudnikova, over the past two weeks, thousands of pharmacists have left in a hurry.
"Pharmacy owners are in a panic, people write applications and leave for Europe before the borders are closed to them. Who will work is an open question, especially since the industry is already in a severe crisis," Prudnikova told us.
The Ukrainian army will soon field body armor for female soldiers. There are currently some 5,000 female soldiers near the front lines. That could change if the Ukrainian military starts to mobilize more women.
As more Ukrainian soldiers defect to the Russian side the number of war prisoners has increased to about 9,000.
Civilian casualties have been low. The UN has registered less than 10,000 killed and less that 17,000 wounded.
The mobilization has serious consequences for Ukraine's economy. It lacks the labor force that is needed to keep it running.
As Yves writes:
Ukraine’s government is now substantially if not totally dependent on Western funding. Federal spending was $35 billion in 2021 and $61 billion in 2022. A substantial portion of US aid was to prop up the government.
And even if spending falls from war-level peaks, Ukraine’s fall in GDP (estimated at 25%, which seems low) in combination with not just an aged population, but now a large number of war disabled, including many amputees, means an increased social burden with greatly diminished productive capacity.
And we have not even factored in what happens if Russia eventually marches up to the Dnieper, getting even more of Ukraine’s most productive farm land, and/or takes the Black Sea coast, turning Ukraine into an even poorer landlocked rump state. The fact that the US is unwilling to make any concession to the key Russian demand of no Ukraine ever in NATO means Russia will prosecute the war until it has subjugated Ukraine, by whatever combination of conquest, installation of a captive government, and economic destruction needs to happen.
To 'rebuild' from that is likely impossible.
Posted by b on September 22, 2023 at 17:46 UTC