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The Ukraine War in data: Russia’s military spending leads to a spiraling budget deficit

The war has turned a healthy surplus into a shortfall for the Kremlin — and the trend will continue in 2023.

For all the sanctions imposed against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine, and all the costs of its nearly yearlong war, Russia has kept its financial coffers well stocked — thanks in large part to strong exports of energy and food staples. That’s why this week’s news from the Russian finance ministry made headlines: Russia ran a severe budget deficit in 2022 — its second-worst fiscal performance since the breakup of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

The obvious reason: a spike in several war-related expenditures, as the conflict drags on far longer than the Kremlin had anticipated.

How damaging is this for Russia? It’s nothing like the catastrophic collapse that many economists had forecast when the raft of sanctions were imposed last spring. And perhaps unsurprisingly, Russian officials tried to paint a positive picture this week. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that “overall, those indicators aren’t bad.” And for his part, Siluanov, the finance minister, said that “despite the geopolitical situation, the restrictions and sanctions, we have fulfilled all our planned goals.”

The problem for Russia is that such expenses are only likely to rise — be it for funds for a larger mobilization, ammunition stocks, or the purchase of more weapons and maintenance of existing weaponry. Already, RBC reports that military spending is expected to jump by nearly 5 trillion rubles ($71 billion) in 2023, with spending on domestic security and law enforcement expected to soar by nearly the same amount. All of which means the deficit may grow as well.

We offer a comprehensive set of data points on the war in Ukraine below. Grid originally published this document March 24, the one-month anniversary of the war. We update it every Thursday to provide a fuller picture of the conflict.

Civilians killed: at least 6,900 (probably thousands more)

Ukrainian soldiers killed: at least 13,000

Russian soldiers killed: between 5,937 and 112,000

Total displaced Ukrainians: approximately 14 million

Internally displaced Ukrainians: approximately 5.9 million

An overview of the violence

Global food markets: Wheat prices down as of Wednesday, after weeks of fluctuation

Recent Grid coverage

Learn more: Grid’s 360s on the Ukraine War

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