In the Ukraine war, a battle for the nation’s mineral and energy wealth: WP
Less than 100 miles east, artillery salvos pound Ukrainian defensive positions as Russian forces inch forward. But below the surface of this sprawling Donbas coal field, a dwindling number of miners are still working, extracting a fuel that is emblematic of one of Ukraine’s biggest challenges.
The lion’s share of those coal deposits, which for decades have powered Ukraine’s critical steel industry, are concentrated in the east, where Moscow has made the most inroads. That’s put them in Russian hands, along with significant amounts of other valuable energy and mineral deposits used for everything from aircraft parts to smartphones, according to an analysis for The Washington Post by the Canadian geopolitical risk firm SecDev.
$12.4 trillion in lost wealth
Some of those deposits are hard to reach or require exploration to assess their viability. Some were overtaken during either Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea or the Ukrainian government’s eight-year war with Russian-backed separatists in the east.
Roman Opimakh, director general of the Ukrainian Geological Survey, said the government is still assessing the war’s impact on its mineral resources. But given how much of Ukraine’s raw materials are in the east and south, he suggested that the value of lost reserves exceeds the total calculated in the independent analysis.