Who is helping Ukraine? A new database makes international aid comparable
Support by other countries to Ukraine since the outbreak of war has been distributed very unevenly, with the United States, Eastern European countries and Great Britain standing out as particularly supportive. This is shown by data of the Ukraine Support Tracker, a new database of government support to Ukraine compiled by researchers at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
The Ukraine Support Tracker systematically tracks the scale of aid that governments of 31 Western countries have pledged to Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022. It covers military, financial, and humanitarian support that is publicly known. "The database is intended to support a facts-based discussion about support to Ukraine. Since the outbreak of war, the public debate has focused primarily on measures to most effectively harm Russia's government, while support to Ukraine has received less attention – partly because of missing data," says Christoph Trebesch, research director at the Kiel Institute and lead author of the Ukraine Support Tracker: "There are surprisingly strong differences, both in terms of the absolute amount of support and when measured as percent of donor country GDP."
According to the database, the U.S. is the largest current supporter of Ukraine, with the equivalent of 7.6 billion euros since the outbreak of war (data as of March 27, 2022). All EU countries combined total 2.9 billion euros, plus 1.4 billion euros from EU institutions and 2 billion euros from the European Investment Bank. The UK, Canada and Japan have pledged a combined 1 billion euros worth of aid. "It is remarkable that the U.S. alone is giving significantly more than the entire EU, in whose immediate neighborhood the war is raging," says Trebesch.
"We cannot provide the full picture because military aid to Ukraine in particular is not always transparent. But we did our best to meticulously list and quantify all support measures that have become publicly known," Trebesch says. "This allows us to systematically compare aid to Ukraine. It makes it possible to assess how the volume of aid compares to other expenditures – such as crisis management efforts at home – or to past crises and wars." The researchers' goal is to regularly update and continuously improve the Ukraine Support Tracker.
In relation to economic output, Estonia is Ukraine's biggest supporter, followed by Poland and Lithuania. The U.S. ranks 6th here, and Germany 12th, not including aid provided indirectly through the EU. "Geographic proximity to Ukraine seems to play a major role in the engagement of Eastern European countries. But the UK also stands out as a supporter of Ukraine, both in absolute terms and relative to economic output," Trebesch said.
"While the discussion currently revolves mainly around the pros and cons of an energy embargo, an important alternative for policymakers is to significantly expand financial and military assistance to Ukraine. As the Ukraine Support Tracker shows, support to Ukraine is small compared, for instance, to current domestic spending packages," says Trebesch.
About the Ukraine Support Tracker
The Ukraine Support Tracker lists and quantifies military, financial and humanitarian aid pledged to Ukraine since February 24, 2022. It focuses on 31 countries, specifically the EU states and the other members of the G7. Donations by the EU Commission and the European Investment Bank are also included. The tracker lists government-to-government commitments; private donations or those from international organizations such as the IMF are not included in this version. Nor does it include flows going into countries like, for example, Moldova, which has received financial support to deal with the large number of Ukrainian refugees.
With regard to sources, the database combines official government sources with information from international media. Aid provided in kind, such as medical supplies, food or military equipment, is quantified on the basis of market prices or information from previous aid campaigns. In cases of doubt, upper bounds of prices are used.
More information and data can be found on this webpage: Ukraine Support Tracker