Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the EU has provided unprecedented levels of support for Ukraine. On the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, this Just the Facts looks at the different ways the EU has supported Ukraine throughout the war, such as financial and economic assistance, humanitarian and civil aid, military assistance and helping refugees.
Financial and Economic Assistance
In 2022, the EU provided €7.4 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine in order to fund its immediate needs, such as ensuring Ukrainian public services continue to operate, like schools and hospitals. This amount was disbursed throughout 2022: €600 million was provided in March and again in May, €1 billion in August, €2 billion in October, €2.5 billion in November and €500 million in December.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine will need between €3 – €4 billion per month of foreign aid in 2023 in order to keep public services operating and to pay wages and pensions. In December, the EU agreed to providing Ukraine €18 billion of low interest loans in 2023. In practice, this will mean that the EU will be providing Ukraine €1.5 billion per month, matching what the US has pledged. Ukraine received its first tranche of this package in January 2023, totalling €3 billion.
The EU has introduced numerous rounds of trade sanctions again Russia. These include targeting members of Russia’s government, MPs in the State Duma, the National Security Council, among others across Russia’s military forces. Economic sanctions have also focused on Russian companies such as in the finance, energy, transport, and technology sectors. EU airspace is closed to Russian aircrafts and EU ports are closed to Russian ships. Export bans were introduced on many products and items including cement, iron and luxury goods.
Humanitarian and Civil Aid
The EU has allocated €630 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. This has been used to provide essential household items, healthcare and mental health supports, winter shelters, and cash assistance to help cover basic needs.
Of the €630 million, €485 million was spent in 2022. The biggest portion was spent on providing food and water (37%), followed by shelter and non-food items (29%), health (8%), education (7%), school rehabilitation (7%), protection (5%), water, sanitation, and hygiene (5%) as well as coordination and support to operators (2%). To date in 2023 the EU has already provided over €145 million.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) has also been providing much needed support for Ukraine. Set up in October 2001, a country inside or outside Europe can request assistance when a natural or man-made emergency overwhelms their capabilities to respond.
Through the CPM, logistical hubs were set up in Poland, Romania and Slovakia in early March 2022, in order to coordinate humanitarian and civil aid into Ukraine. The CPM facilitated the set-up of a medical evacuation hub in September 2022 in Rzeszów, Poland. It provides nursing care, screening for diseases, vaccinations, and mental health supports for patients who are then airlifted to another European country on planes provided by Norway.
The CPM allowed France to send 100 small–medium sized power generators to Ukraine, Slovakia to send 19 generators, Germany 23 generators, Lithuania 52 transformers, and four emergency power systems from Poland. A further 40 large generators have been sent to power 30 hospitals across Ukraine.
The European Peace Facility (EPF) has been the main mechanism to provide financial assistance for the Ukrainian military. Established in March 2021 as an “off budget” instrument, the EPF allows the EU to finance operational actions under the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It replaced the earlier Athena Mechanism which was set up in 2004.
Since February 2022, the EU has provided €3.6 billion in assistance through the EPF through various tranches of €500 million. For example, in November 2022, €16 million was provided for “ammunition, military equipment and platforms designed to deliver lethal force” and “services including transportation, custody and maintenance and repair of the equipment financed through the assistance measure”. A further tranche of €500 million was provided to Ukraine in February 2023.
In October 2022, the EU agreed to set up a two-year Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM) to provide training to Ukrainian military forces in the EU, likely in Germany or Poland. It has been reported that the Irish Government “is set to consider” deploying up to 30 personnel from the Defense Forces to EUMAM. These would “provide specialist training in demining”, “combat medical activities” and also provide “engineering and explosive ordnance disposal”. While Ireland is participating in the EPF, it has provided €77 million for non-military aid, such as medical supplies, including fuel, helmets, and medical supplies.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as of 15 February 2023, there are 8,075,440 refugees from Ukraine across Europe. This represents around 19% of the total population.
Data from the UNHRC highlights that 57.4% of those refugees (4,635,810) are in an EU Member State. Of that EU figure, 67.1% are based in three Member States: Poland has 1,563,386 (33.7%), Germany 1,055,323 (22.8%) and the Czech Republic 489,865 (10.6%). A full breakdown of Ukrainian refuges across all 27 EU Member States is presented in Table 1.
In early March 2022, the EU activated a set of temporary measures so that the asylum systems of EU Member States could deal with the pressures they were experiencing in the initial weeks after Russia’s invasion. These rights include residence, access to the labour market, housing, medical assistance, social welfare assistance and access to education for children.
The EU has also identified around €17 billion of EU cohesion and post-Covid-19 recovery funds that Member States can reallocate to support the urgent needs of refugees from Ukraine. This relates to around €7 billion of unspent cohesion policy funds from the 2014–2020 budget, and around €10 billion of funds from the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU).
Table 1: Share of Ukrainian Refugees in EU Member States as of 15.02.2023 – Source: UNHRC.
|EU Member State||No. of Ukrainian Refugees||% EU Share|