What if the war continues for years?​

    Business Spotlight Audio 2/2023
    Sign that says "stop war"
    © Edoardo Ceriani/unsplash.com
    Von Michael Thumann

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    On 24 February 2022, Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine and take over the country. He thought it would be a matter of days or weeks. His plan failed; Ukrainian troopTruppetroops have taken back large parts of their country. Now, the Russian ruler has changed his strategy from blitzkrieg to deterrenceAbschreckungdeterrence and war of attritionZermürbungskriegwar of attrition, while threatening the world with nuclear weapons. In Ukraine, he has pulled troops back from indefensible positions and is to dig insich verschanzendigging in behind the frontline. At the same time, his air force bombs Ukraine’s cities, using rockets from Iran. Putin is now planning for a long war.​

    If the war continues for years, it will have tremendousenormtremendous repercussionAuswirkungrepercussions for Ukraine, Russia and the West. Ukraine’s army can still move forward, inch by inchlangsaminch by inch, in the east. But Russia’s air attacks on cities are slowly but surely destroying essential infrastructure and, increasingly, industrial and residential areas, too. Industrial production and external trade are suffering, while Ukraine’s large cities become less and less liveablebewohnbarliveable. The countryside is full of internally displacedvertriebendisplaced people, and more refugees will move to western Europe with little chance of returning soon. It is unlikely that Putin will own Ukraine, but it is possible that he will to break sth.hier: etw. zerschlagenbreak it.

    For Europe, this has serious consequences. Already, the EU and the UK are providing billionMilliarde(n)billions in military and humanitarian aidHilfeaid. They are also covering a considerable part of Ukraine’s budget. In some EU countries, especially Germany and Poland, millions of Ukrainians have found refugeZufluchtrefuge. By November 2022, some eight million Ukrainians had become refugees, nearly a quarter of the population. The US is the most important provider of military support for Ukraine, but pressure in the US Congress will grow to shift more of the cost to Europe. This will increase tensionSpannungtensions here, on top of the crises of high inflation, energy shortageKnappheitshortages and growing international competitionWettbewerb, Konkurrenzcompetition for industrial production siteProduktionsstätteproduction sites.​

    While destroying Ukraine, Putin is also fighting against his own people. Fear is spreading that this is a war without an end. The mobilization of young Russians is to take a toll on sth.von etw. seinen Tribut forderntaking a huge toll on production, services and trade in Russia. Smaller companies have had to close because their managers have been sent to the front; medium-sized companies have cut their production; and big corporationKonzernbig corporations have seen their profits to nationalize sth.etw. verstaatlichennationalized by the state to to fund sth.etw. finanzierenfund the ever more expensive war.​

    All of this is taking shape to assume sth.etw. annehmenassuming that the war won’t spread beyond Ukraine’s borders. If it does, the costs will be much larger. However, even on its present trajectoryFlugbahn; hier: Verlauftrajectory, the war will make Europe a poorer and more batteredangeschlagenbattered continent than at any time since the end of the Second World War.​

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