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18 Jan, 2024 01:03

Ukraine's ‘global firepower’ ranking tumbles

Western backing had previously bolstered Kiev’s position
Ukraine's ‘global firepower’ ranking tumbles

Ukraine has dropped to 18th place on the Global Firepower (GFP) index, down from 15th last summer, before the start of its counteroffensive for which it was heavily supplied by the West.

The most recent GFP update showed Ukraine at a rating of 0.2598 (with 0.0 considered optimal). It compared unfavorably to Russia in every category except geography, though GFP did not explain how that was evaluated. 

Kiev's 15th place ranking at the end of May 2023 with a rating of 0.2516 was partly due to the “financial and material backing from the West,” GFP explained. According to Russian Defense Ministry estimates from December, Ukraine had received over $200 billion worth of aid from the US and its allies.

At the time, GFP said that 2023 would prove “a critical year in the direction of the bloody Russo-Ukrainian conflict as the stresses and demands of a prolonged war against a larger neighboring power will eventually come to light.”

Within days, Kiev launched its grand counteroffensive in Zaporozhye, intended to reach the Azov Sea and cut the so-called Russian “land bridge” to Crimea. The operation was extensively planned by US and UK generals and fought with tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery supplied by NATO. 

The Western plan was abandoned after just four days due to heavy losses, according to a recent Washington Post analysis. Kiev’s forces kept fighting for four months, at the cost of 125,000 casualties and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment, but failed to reach any of their objectives. 

Russia’s rating went from 0.0714 to 0.0702 over the same period. However, GFP kept Moscow in second place behind Washington, which was rated at 0.0699 – up from last year’s 0.0712.

GFP has been producing its annual report since 2006, ranking 145 countries around the world by “potential war-making capability across land, sea, and air fought by conventional means.” The in-house formula considers “manpower, equipment, natural resources, finances, and geography represented by 60+ individual factors” to arrive at an index, with zero being the theoretical perfect score. Many of the criteria are based on data from the CIA World Factbook.

Global Firepower’s location, funding, and ownership aren’t entirely clear. Per its own disclaimer, the outfit “does not assume responsibility as to the accuracy, correctness, completeness, reliability and ‘up-to-dateness’ of information made available throughout.”