Not Alone: How Ukraine is Getting the West's Support to Resist Russia's Invasion

December 15, 2022
Undoubtedly, the aid provided by the West to Ukraine has been a pillar of Ukraine's successful resistance against Russian aggression.

However, with so much going on, it can sometimes be challenging to keep track of everything. Thus, we have put together a short compilation of all the key points regarding Western assistance to Ukraine. 

Key trends

From the very beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, the United States has been Ukraine's key donor. Its contributions have gone far beyond even the combined support of all EU member states and EU institutions, especially in the provision of military aid.

However, the situation changed after the Council of the EU reached an agreement on December 10, 2022 to provide Ukraine with EUR 18 billion during 2023, a decision initially put in jeopardy by a Hungarian veto.

Thus, after this decision was adopted, EU member states and institutions overtook the US in terms of total pledged aid to Ukraine. In total, as of mid-December, the EU has committed to providing Ukraine with EUR 51.84 billion, while the US has pledged USD 47.82 billion.

The latest data on this can be tracked on the website of the independent Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), which runs the Ukraine Support Tracker, a database of aid promised to Ukraine after January 24, 2022. It covers 40 countries, specifically EU member states and other members of the G7, and focuses on government-to-government transfers.

Military Aid

As Ukraine has fought for its survival, the provision of military aid has been perhaps the most vital support Ukraine has received. At the beginning of November, Ukrainian UN Ambassador Serhiy Kyslytsya reported that in 2022, Ukraine's allies had provided it with military aid amounting to 86% of the Russian military budget.

As of the end of November, most aid had been provided to Ukraine by the United States, whose total was almost USD 23 billion. Speaking at that time, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin confirmed at a press conference that the US had sent more than $20 billion in aid to Ukraine, and that  " we will continue to support Ukraine as long as it takes."

The United Kingdom took the second spot with 4.1 billion euros. Not far behind were Germany (2.3 billion), Poland (1.8 billion) and Canada (1.4 billion) to round out the top five. At the same time, some smaller countries provided Ukraine with extremely large aid relative to the size of their budgets. The top spot here is held by Latvia, which has provided Ukraine with about a third of its entire military budget.

The provision of 6 tranches of EU military aid to Ukraine under the European Peace Facility (EPF) has been truly unique. For the first time in history, the EU decided to finance the purchase and delivery of weapons for a state that was at war. It also marked the first time the EU had approved the financing and transfer of arms to a  state outside the Union.

In addition to the supply of weapons and equipment, the training of Ukrainian soldiers has also been an important dimension of military aid. Currently, there are three such major programs led by the EU, the UK and the United States. Britain's Operation Interflex commenced in July 2022 as the successor to Operation Orbital, which existed before Russia's full-scale invasion. It has the potential to train up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days.

In mid-October 2022, the EU Council agreed to set up a Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine) with the purpose of providing individual, collective, and specialized training to the Ukrainian  Armed Forces. According to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, the EUMAM will train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers.

Financial Aid

In terms of financial aid provided to Ukraine, EU institutions confidently hold the lead, having provided a bit over twice as much as the United States, with 30.3 billion euros from the EU to 15.1 billion dollars from the US.

The EU has provided financial support primarily through two mechanisms: macro-financial assistance and the European Investment Bank. This year was unprecedented: at the end of June, the European Council supported a European Commission proposal to work on providing Ukraine with an exceptional package of macro-financial assistance of up to 9 billion euros.

However, next year is set to break another record. The Council of the EU agreed to provide Ukraine with financial assistance throughout 2023 totalling EUR 18 billion, which is about 1.5 billion every month. These funds will be provided in the form of loans, but they will have a 10-year repayment grace period, and member states will cover the bulk of the interest costs via externally assigned revenues.

Humanitarian Aid

While military and financial aid have been key to keeping the Ukrainian state alive and afloat, humanitarian aid has also been an indispensable help to Ukraine. The US has  pledged to provide Ukraine with humanitarian aid totalling almost 10 billion dollars.

Germany takes the second spot in this regard. According to Germany's Federal Foreign Office, Berlin has provided more than 2 billion euros in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and its neighboring countries, as well as for helping internally displaced persons and refugees. EU institutions take third place, having provided more than 1.5 billion euros as of mid-December.

As Russia has intensified shelling of Ukrainian energy infrastructure, the EU not only intensified its provision of aid to help repair the damage, but also launched a new initiative, Generators of Hope, which calls on cities to donate generators and transformers to help Ukrainians get through the harsh winter ahead.

Analyst and Journalist at UkraineWorld