Ukraine needs €120 billion per year to win war, claims Estonia

Associated Press
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Kusti Salm, permanent secretary of the Estonian defense ministry, said that €120 billion a year in military aid is “a generous amount that should be enough to allow Ukraine to win the war.”

The whopping sum would invariably come almost entirely from Western taxpayers, who are already on the hook for an amount approaching €150 billion.

Salm suggested that this amount should be provided to Ukraine at least partly through joint EU borrowing from the financial markets, as was the case with the reconstruction fund and the €50 billion in aid voted this year. Estonian politicians have for months been adamant that in order for Ukraine to win the war, it is enough for the Western allies to spend 0.25 percent of their GDP each year on military aid to Ukraine. This would be roughly the same as the above amount, according to Estonian calculations.

“With this money, Ukraine could get to the point of exhausting Russia by 2025,” says Salm.

However, he says it cannot remain that way, given that currently the Western allies spend half as much on war alone as Russia, according to Hungarian media outlet Mandiner.

The figure being proposed equates to roughly two-thirds of Hungary’s total annual GDP and 15 percent more than the total spending of the entire Hungarian budget this year.

Salm is aware that “some countries have said that it is not affordable,” but that is why they stress the possibility of a joint bond issue: there would be no need to pay this huge amount out of national budgets if the European Commission simply borrowed it on behalf of the member states. According to Euractiv, the issue could be on the agenda of the next EU summit, as the idea has the backing of the Estonians, the Belgians, the French and EU President Charles Michel.

“Supporters are gathering fast,” Salm told Euractiv, noting that the “borrowing scenario is apparently much more attractive than finding €120 billion in our national budgets.”

However, if any country would still find the amount too much, the Estonian civil servant offers a reassuring answer: “It sounds like a large amount, but it is still an order of magnitude less than the potential risk.”

Concerns have been raised about corruption in Ukraine, with many of the billions already sent to the country unaccounted for. The country, which was already one of the most corrupt in the world before the war, is seen as even less transparent than ever before due to the chaos of war.

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