As the Russian invasion of Ukraine nears its first anniversary, the war drags on, but the success of Ukranian forces in thwarting Russia’s advances has become abundantly clear. Ukraine has defied expectations due to the determination of its people, the U.S.-developed resistance strategy (known as the Resistance Operating Concept), and massive amounts of foreign aid.
In the first eleven months of 2022, Ukraine’s bilateral and multilateral partners made more than $100 billion in pledges of aid, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which tracks Ukraine assistance.
Dozens of countries, along with the European Union (EU), have provided Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, and military assistance. But Ukraine’s greatest supporter, by far, has been the United States.
U.S. is Top Provider of Ukraine Aid
The U.S. has led all countries in aid pledged and delivered to Ukraine since January 2022. U.S. financial, humanitarian, and military aid commitments to Ukraine last year into November 20, 2022 totaled $47.8 billion — almost more than all other countries and the EU combined.
The U.S. leads other bilateral and multilateral donors by far in both humanitarian aid and military assistance. It has committed $9.9 billion in humanitarian assistance. Germany has pledged $2 billion and the EU $1.6 billion.
The U.S. has provided over $20 billion in military aid to Ukraine as of November 20, including armored vehicles, HIMARS rockets, Javelin missiles, small arms ammunition, and tactical drones. The EU, breaking with precedent, has committed several billion dollars in lethal arms to Ukraine, through the European Peace Facility.
Where the EU has taken the lead is on financial assistance — so far in terms of pledges. As of last November, the EU committed $30.3 billion in budgetary support to Ukraine compared to $15.1 billion by the U.S. That includes €18 billion in loan commitments made in November through the Macro-Financial Assistance framework. Into November, the U.S. remained ahead of the EU in actual budgetary support delivered to Ukraine: $8.5 compared to $8.1 billion. But the EU is catching up.
The lead role played by the U.S. is expected given that it's the world's largest economy. The Baltic nations of Estonia and Lithuania lead in terms of pledges as a proportion of the size of their economies, making commitments at around 1% of GDP.
The U.S. and European partners have made billions more in pledges since the Kiel Institute database was last updated. These include the supply of Abrams tanks, Stryker armored personnel carriers, and other vehicles announced by Washington in January.
Disparity Between U.S. and EU Ukraine Aid Triggers Republican Outcry
The U.S. remains the top donor to the Ukraine war effort.
The initial bipartisan consensus in Washington in support of Ukraine has begun to erode. Though there's scrutiny and even criticism of aid to Kyiv coming from both sides of the aisle, it's most prominent on the right.
In October, then-House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy warned that Republicans would not give "a blank check to Ukraine" if it won the House majority, indicating that a U.S. recession would impact American generosity. McCarthy reportedly walked those comments back in private talks with legislators. But with a thin House majority, he remains dependent on support from the Republican Party's far-right, which has been vocal against support for Ukraine.
In a tweet in September, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene attacked President Joe Biden for allegedly caring more about "Ukraine's border" than "this country's border." She said that "American tax dollars need to be used only for our country while we have so many problems, security crises.” Her calls for the cessation of U.S. aid to Ukraine have been echoed by other kindred voices including Donald Trump Jr. and Tucker Carlson.
On Thursday, Greene and another far-right member of congress, Lauren Boebert, took to Twitter to call for the reallocation of Ukraine aid to the strengthening of the defense of America.
Ukraine Corruption Makes Aid Transparency Vital
The Biden administration shows no sign of dithering on its support to Ukraine. Recent arms transfer announcements signal a commitment to maintaining support for Ukraine's defensive war over the long term. But corruption — a longstanding issue in Ukraine — may erode the bipartisan support in Washington for arming and funding Kyiv.
In 2021, Ukraine ranked 122 out of 180 on Transparency International's corruption perception index. Corruption has been a longstanding problem in Ukraine. And it has persisted even during the war. On Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky sacked a number of senior officials, including regional governors, for alleged corruption.
The Pentagon has a modest presence of personnel in Ukraine tasked with scanning bar codes to check the delivery of weapons inventories sent to the embattled country.