How Much U.S. Aid Is Going to Ukraine?

How Much U.S. Aid Is Going to Ukraine?

A Ukrainian serviceman carries an artillery shell.
A Ukrainian serviceman carries an artillery shell. Marko Djurica/Reuters

Nine charts illustrate the extraordinary level of support the United States has provided Ukraine in its war against Russian invaders.

Last updated May 9, 2024 9:00 am (EST)

A Ukrainian serviceman carries an artillery shell.
A Ukrainian serviceman carries an artillery shell. Marko Djurica/Reuters
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Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

Every year, the United States sends billions of dollars in aid—much more than any other country—to beneficiaries around the world in pursuit of its security, economic, and humanitarian interests. 

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Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has become far and away the top recipient of U.S. foreign aid. This marks the first time that a European country has held the top spot since the Harry S. Truman administration directed vast sums into rebuilding the continent through the Marshall Plan after World War II.

How much money has the United States provided Ukraine?

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Since the war began, the U.S. Congress has voted through five bills that have provided Ukraine with ongoing aid, doing so most recently in April 2024. The total budget authority under these bills—the “headline” figure often cited by news media—is $175 billion. The historic sums are helping a broad set of Ukrainian people and institutions, including refugees, law enforcement, and independent radio broadcasters, though most of the aid has been military-related. Dozens of other countries, including most members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU), are also providing large aid packages to Ukraine.

It’s important to note that of the $175 billion total, only $107 billion directly aids the government of Ukraine. Most of the remainder is funding various U.S. activities associated with the war in Ukraine, and a small portion supports other affected countries in the region.

A large share of the money in the aid bills is spent in the United States, paying for American factories and workers to produce the various weapons that are either shipped to Ukraine or that replenish the U.S. weapons stocks the Pentagon has drawn on during the war. One analysis, by the American Enterprise Institute, found that Ukraine aid is funding defense manufacturing in more than seventy U.S. cities.

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Why is the United State providing aid to Ukraine?

Much of the U.S. aid has gone toward providing weapons systems, training, and intelligence that Ukrainian commanders need to defend against Russia, which has one of the world’s most powerful militaries. Most Western analysts say the military aid provided by the United States and other allies played a pivotal role in Ukraine’s defense and counteroffensive against Russia. 

U.S. and allied leaders consider Russia’s invasion a brutal and illegal war of aggression on NATO’s frontier that, if successful, would subjugate millions of Ukrainians; encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin’s revanchist aims; and invite similar aggression from other rival powers, especially China. However, many supporters of Ukraine have faulted the United States and other donor countries for delays in critical aid in 2023 and early 2024. These critics say delays hampered Ukraine’s fighting abilities and allowed Russia to regain the battlefield initiative and retake territory along the eastern front.

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What weapons and equipment has the United States sent Ukraine?

NATO allies are particularly wary of being pulled directly into the hostilities, which could dramatically raise the risk of a nuclear war. However, as the fighting has progressed, many donor governments have shed their reluctance to give Ukraine more sophisticated assets, such as battle tanks and modern fighter aircraft. In the summer of 2023, the United States agreed to allow its European allies to provide Ukraine with U.S.-made F-16s. The first transfer of these advanced fighters was expected in mid-2024, around the time the first set of Ukrainian pilots were scheduled to complete their training on the aircraft.

More than two years into the war, the Joe Biden administration has provided or agreed to provide Ukraine with a long list of defense capabilities, including Abrams battle tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, artillery shells, including cluster munitions, coastal defense ships, and advanced surveillance and radar systems. In early 2024, the Biden administration reportedly started supplying Ukraine with significant numbers of long-range precision missiles, known as ATACMS, that can strike targets nearly 200 miles (322 kilometers) away. 

How does the aid to Ukraine compare to that for other recipients of U.S. assistance?

When compared to U.S. assistance to other top recipients in recent years, the extraordinary scale of this aid comes into view.

Looking back over the last several decades, aid to Ukraine also ranks among the largest relative to the size of the U.S. economy at the time.

However, the magnitude of U.S. aid to Ukraine can seem less remarkable in comparison to what the Pentagon budgets each year, or what the Treasury Department was authorized (via the Troubled Asset Relief Program) to bail out Wall Street banks, auto companies, and other sectors of the economy during the U.S. financial crisis.

 

How does U.S. aid to Ukraine compare to that from other donors?

When compared to the critical support to Ukraine from other countries, the size of U.S. aid stands out.

However, many European governments are making larger financial contributions to Ukraine relative to the size of their economies.

Thirty countries have made major arms transfers to Ukraine in the past two years, led by the United States, Germany, and Poland. Nearly all are wealthy democracies.

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