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The Ukrainian army has had a string of successes in its counter-offensive in the east of the country. These advances were achieved on the battlefield by Ukrainian soldiers alone, with extensive military support from Western allies in the rear.
Moscow’s defense budget is five times that of kyiv. Given this rift between the two warring countries, the resistance of the Ukrainian army seemed doomed in February. But the army showed its resilience and President Zelensky knew how to mobilize international support. Essential aid in means of combat, ammunition, intelligence, technology. Unwilling to engage on the ground, the allies have put the package on the war effort, which is added to humanitarian and economic aid. According to the latest count published by the Kiel Institute for the world economy at the beginning of August, all countries combined, the official commitment to the defense of Ukraine exceeded 40 billion dollars. Without taking into account recent additional promises made by the United States, this represents four times the super budget of Ukrainian defense voted for the year 2022.
The United States is by far the largest donor of military aid
More than half of this aid, around 25 billion dollars, comes from the United States. This is an amount far greater than the US military aid provided in 2020 to the three countries that Washington has long supported: Israel, Egypt, and Afghanistan before the return of the Taliban. Other American sources estimate that this aid is undoubtedly much higher, rather around 40 billion dollars.
This colossal aid makes a difference on the ground?
This is what changes the game, said Monday morning General Jean-Paul Palomeros, the former supreme commander of NATO forces. The volume of American aid and the speed with which it was put in place have contributed to the recent successes of the Ukrainian army. And it’s not over. Last week Antony Blinken, the American Secretary of State on a surprise visit to kyiv promised a new envelope of two billion dollars. US military aid becomes permanent, he said. This new envelope will be used to strengthen the defense of Ukraine and its neighbors “over the long term”. Half will go to Ukraine. Beforehand and in addition, the Secretary of Defense who accompanied Antony Blinken, announced deliveries of heavy weapons, ammunition and armor covering an amount of 675 million dollars. This massive aid serves the strategic interests of the United States, determined to prevent Vladimir Putin from winning this war, and also those of course of the American armaments industry, the great beneficiary of the new orders which are pouring in.
The effort of the Europeans, on the other hand, is running out of steam, again according to the data analyzed by the German institute
The military aid provided by Europe has been decreasing since April, warns the head of the study. All types of aid combined, Germany is the 13th donor, the European Union the 14th and France the 20th. European countries are focused on the energy crisis they are suffering partly because of Russia. They also have quite limited stocks of weapons, this is what this Russian war in Ukraine has brought to light and this partly explains their reluctance.
But let us underline that the effort of the Europeans is substantial. In absolute terms, Poland is the second donor of military aid, behind the United States, the United Kingdom third. And if we weigh the aid according to the GDP of the donor countries, Russia’s immediate neighbors are by far the most generous. Estonia is the first of them since it devotes 0.9% of its GDP to Ukraine, all types of aid combined, just like Latvia, Poland 0.5% of its GDP. The United States is only 7th with 0.2% of its GDP.