Russia’s invasion has pitted Ukraine against a country with a massive military and one of the world’s biggest economies. Ukraine has been able to keep the fight going in large part due to nearly $350 billion in aid that’s been committed by mostly Western nations since January of 2022. However, there are growing concerns that the flow of support may begin to dwindle, particularly from Kyiv’s most important military backer, the United States.
The US Government’s Stopgap Funding Bill
After a heated spending debate nearly shut down the US government, Congress passed a stopgap funding bill last week that stripped out funding for Ukraine, in an attempt to appease some hardline Republicans. While this move was not enough for conservatives, it was a significant blow for Ukraine, which heavily relies on Western assistance to turn the tide of the war.
International Assistance to Ukraine
To better understand the geopolitical debate behind backing Kyiv, let’s analyze how international assistance to Ukraine stacks up.
Military Aid to Ukraine
Individual countries around the world have committed nearly $100 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine. Almost half of this aid comes from the United States, according to data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy through July 2023.
The US Congress has approved around $46.6 billion in direct military aid to Ukraine since NATO countries began organizing support for Ukraine a month before the full-scale invasion. This is part of a total $113 billion aid budget for both defense and civilian needs, although not all of it is meant to go directly to Ukraine. Some funds are allocated to replenish the US military’s previous donations of weaponry and ammunition and to help other countries impacted by the geopolitical situation.
Collectively, European Union countries have committed $38 billion in direct military support to Kyiv, with Germany, Denmark, and Poland being the largest contributors. The United Kingdom has pledged more than $7 billion in direct military aid.
Some of the highest-cost military donations include anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, weapon-locating radar systems, mine-clearing ships and patrol boats, helicopters, and multiple launch rocket systems, according to the Kiel Institute.
Financial and Humanitarian Assistance
The US has committed the second-largest amount of money to help Ukraine overall, including military, financial, and humanitarian assistance, after the European Union, which has sent a total of around $85.1 billion, according to Kiel Institute data. This figure does not include contributions from individual EU member states, which are counted separately.
However, unlike some of Ukraine’s smaller allies, Washington’s contributions account for only 0.3% of its GDP, according to data. Norway and the Baltic states bordering Russia—Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia—are committing a greater proportion of their wealth to the war at more than 1% of their GDP.
This figure includes humanitarian aid, such as ambulances, power generators, temporary bridges, family tents, and Starlink terminals for satellite communication.
The largest singular financial contribution from a single country is a $13.4 billion US grant to Ukraine’s government to help with various budgetary and infrastructure needs, including support for Ukraine’s energy security, according to the House Appropriations Committee.
Refugee Costs Add Up for Ukraine’s European Allies
When expenses related to hosting refugees are included in aid calculations, contributions by the European allies who took in the majority of Ukrainian refugees become even more significant. Poland has received the second-largest number of Ukrainian refugees (around 960,000) in allied countries after Germany (nearly 1.1 million), according to data from the United Nations refugee agency in September. Russia also has nearly 1.3 million refugees, the UN data shows.
Around 78% of Poland’s direct support for Ukraine goes to refugee costs, which amounts to $17 billion out of nearly $22 billion. The country publicly feuded with Kyiv last month over a Ukrainian grains import issue, which has since cooled, though tensions remain.
When factoring refugee costs into GDP calculations, the burden of Poland’s Ukraine aid increases from about 0.7% to 3.2% of GDP, compared to less than 1% for Germany, according to the Kiel Institute data.
US Contributions in Terms of Weapons
Thirty-three countries have pledged weapons and military equipment to Ukraine, according to the Kiel Institute. Several others have offered training and other indirect military assistance.
The number of tanks Poland has committed to Ukraine is unmatched by any other country—a total of 324, data shows. The US has given less than a quarter of this number.
However, the US leads in assistance with heavy weapons and accompanying ammunition, as well as in supplying light infantry, with at least 150 million units of ammunition pledged. The country is supplying 38 multiple launch rocket systems along with ammunition, and 270 Howitzer artillery weapons. Both have proved effective on the front line, Ukrainian officials have said.
At least 35 anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile systems have also been committed to Ukraine by the US—the most of any country, and the total amount is likely higher as some quantities have not been disclosed.
The international support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia is extensive, with significant contributions from various countries. However, the recent funding challenges in the United States have raised concerns about the sustainability of this aid. The geopolitical implications of this support and its impact on the ongoing conflict continue to be a subject of debate.
How much aid has the United States provided to Ukraine?
The United States has provided approximately $46.6 billion in direct military aid to Ukraine, as part of a larger aid budget for defense and civilian needs.
Which European countries have contributed the most to Ukraine’s military support?
Germany, Denmark, and Poland are among the largest contributors, with the European Union collectively providing $38 billion in direct military assistance.
What percentage of GDP does the US’s aid to Ukraine represent?
Washington’s contributions account for 0.3% of its GDP, whereas some smaller allies commit more than 1% of their GDP to support Ukraine.
How has the refugee crisis impacted Ukraine’s European allies?
European countries hosting Ukrainian refugees, such as Poland and Germany, have faced significant financial burdens, with costs related to refugees increasing as a percentage of their GDP.
What type of military equipment has the US provided to Ukraine?
The US has supplied various military equipment, including heavy weapons, ammunition, multiple launch rocket systems, and anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile systems, to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.