Details 08:15 24 Aug 2023

Twelve friends of Ukraine's independence: who and how helps Ukraine win in the fight for existence

In fact, there are more friends — those who help Ukraine resist the enemy, those who have given shelter to Ukrainians abroad, those who provide humanitarian aid — much more than 12. Without their support, Ukraine would have a much harder time in this war for its very existence. Rubryka mentions the most vivid contributions of friends of Ukraine since the last Independence Day.

In February 2022, no one bet on Ukraine. Foreign intelligence services silently nodded their heads when words about the capture of Kyiv in 72 hours and the whole of Ukraine in 14 days echoed in the information space. Everyone expected the army to be defeated, the legitimate government to be overthrown, and the country to be under occupation. The maximum fate anticipated for the Ukrainians was a guerrilla war.

On August 24, 2023, Ukraine can celebrate the one-and-a-half-year anniversary of the failure of these forecasts. The war continues, and the enemy does not pass. The Ukrainian army is strong and is gradually liberating the state's territory, whose sovereignty and independence are recognized by the entire developed world. A year and a half of death, suffering, destruction, and a constant emotional swing from euphoria to despair recorded the Kremlin's grandiose hoax — the Russian army is large but not all-powerful. However, the largest war in Europe in 80 years demonstrated not only the criminal essence of Putin's regime but also the impossibility of winning a modern war alone. Now, you can mock as much as you want at the Russian soldiers or tanks from the 1950s (in fact, it should not be done), but it would have been much harder for Ukraine if it was left alone with the enemy.

This support occurred at various levels — from providing asylum to Ukrainians and humanitarian aid to supplying intelligence and weapons. Again, it cannot be said that all this happens on a charitable basis — something is given for free, something is bought, something will have to be paid for later, and the motives are different, but the saying "a friend in need is a friend indeed" is 100% true. In the current conditions, Ukrainians have a moral right to demand more, but it will not be superfluous to summarize what Ukraine has already received and from whom.

The main disclaimer for this list is that it cannot be taken as a rating. The unprecedented scale of the world's most powerful army's help in the symbolic field cannot overshadow the more modest support in absolute numbers but more potent in terms of the percentage of capabilities. You can give relatively little, but give everything you have. It is also difficult to estimate the supply from the nearest Poland and the farthest Australia. That is why there are no first and last here — there is a circle of friends at different distances from each other but equally close to the center — to Ukraine. There are many more of them; it is difficult to remember them all, and not all of them are states. Let's generalize to 12 positions — one for each month of the war between the Independence Days 2022 and 2023.

Here is another disclaimer right away. There is a catastrophe with aid estimates. The Washington Post talks about $66 billion from the US, and Ukraine's ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, almost doubles this amount. Great Britain calls itself the second largest donor, allocating £4.6 billion for military needs (together with economic and humanitarian support — 6.5 billion), but Germany speaks of the amount of €22 billion. There can be many reasons: journalists did not hear something right, the topic is hot, and there is no time to wait for clarification; already provided and only planned aid, direct supply to Ukraine, and compensation to cover its cost are mixed into one pile; even, the numbers of 2022 are confused with the current year. However, this is not that important because the aid is provided in huge amounts.

I. The United States

байден у києві

President Biden visited Kyiv on February 20, 2023.

The leader in material support is the United States of America. The flow of aid from America has not stopped throughout the full-scale war. It has already reached tens of billions of dollars through military, financial, and humanitarian aid programs. Even against the background of the huge defense budget — almost 900 billion each this year and the next, this amount does not seem impressive, but, in fact, it is enormous. A small spoonful of tar is added by the fact that if such American support for the Ukrainian army was comparable to spending on Egypt or Israel — since 2014, these countries received at least 10 and 28 billion, respectively, compared to 720 million for Ukraine, then the armed forces would be much stronger. However, let's reject all what-ifs as non-constructive and excessively emotional. The main thing is that, according to one of the American experts, "The United States can support Ukraine forever."

The first planes with American Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and tons of other lethal weapons and ammunition began arriving at the end of January 2022. In a year and a half, the Ukrainian Armed Forces received 26,000 such complexes. In general, the United States transferred a lot of weapons that have successfully demilitarized the Russian army and mentions of which caused multiple emotional outbursts on Russia's propaganda channels: in addition to the mentioned Javelins, there are also TOW and M141, Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade drones, Stinger MANPADS, howitzers M777, M109 Paladin, M114, anti-ship missiles Harpoon, artillery systems HIMARS and M270, Bradley fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers M113 and International MaxxPro, HMMWV vehicles, armored vehicles Stryker, Abrams tanks, Hawk medium-range surface-to-air missile and more.

II. Poland

12 друзів незалежності України

The meeting between the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, and Volodymyr Zelensky in Rzeszów in December 2022

Mutual diplomatic jabs and the transit and grain crisis have recently clouded the good neighborhood relations of Kyiv and Warsaw. However, this is far from such a problem as the Kremlin would like to see it. President of Poland Andrzej Duda, addressing the Poles during a military parade on August 15, said: "Thanks to the fact that the defenders of Ukraine restrain Russian aggression and defeat Russian units, we are free." This is a very comprehensive summary from the head of state, which became a home for many Ukrainians after the Russian invasion and still remains so for almost a million of them.

Of course, Poland's concern can be easily explained."An independent Ukraine is essential for an independent Poland," said President Duda. There is no altruism or a cynical desire to use Ukraine as a shield in this. Poland's interest lies in Ukrainian victory, not to avoid a war but to strengthen its power. Poland is currently militarizing at a frantic pace, increasing the number of troops and buying equipment from South Korea and the United States. However, it helps Ukraine with the same activity.

In the spring, the volume of Polish aid reached €11 billion. Poland gave Ukraine the most significant number of tanks — more than 300 PT-91 Twardy, Leopard and T-72, self-propelled guns Krab, MANPADS Piorun, mortars M120 Rak, 200 armored personnel carriers Rosomak, 14 MiG-29, helicopters, drones, and many more. It is also the leader in the supply of Starlink satellite communication terminals — more than a third of the available 42,000 were delivered by Poland.

Since March 2022, the President and the head of the government of Poland have visited Ukraine 12 times. Poland openly supports Ukraine's accession to NATO and declares it will make maximum efforts for Ukraine to obtain the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union. Finally, the project of the Great Bilateral Agreement (on good neighborliness, friendly relations, and cooperation) is in the works — the last such document was signed 30 years ago.

III. Germany

12 друзів незалежності України

Munich Security Conference, February 2023

Germany's contribution to supporting Ukraine's combat capability can be considered the most controversial of all Ukrainian partners. Paradoxically, this is due to both Berlin's rhetoric and Kyiv's high bar of expectations.

Putinversteher policy, strong economic ties with Russia, as well as phantom guilt for the crimes of Nazism made it difficult for the German authorities to adapt to the new realities where Putin was evil and a criminal. Chancellor Olaf Scholtz's bold promises and reluctant fulfillment of them, as well as the refusal to receive President Steinmeier in Kyiv last April and the offended Ambassador Andriy Melnyk, did not promise a reliable military partnership between Kyiv and Berlin. However, Ukrainian-German relations in this area were best characterized by the previous and current Chairs of the Munich Security Conference.

In August 2022, the head of the mentioned conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, said that Germany should constantly catch up with "its more determined colleagues" regarding aid to Ukraine. However, the defeat of Russia is in the best interest of Berlin. Instead, another chairman — Christoph Heusgen — noted in January 2023 that despite all the red lines, Germany is already in the "vanguard of sanctions, has stopped importing gas from Russia, has supplied many weapons." A substantive evolution has taken place, which allows Germany to perceive itself not "as a donor country, but as a partner country."

In total, since the beginning of the full-scale war, German aid to Ukraine amounted to €22 billion. It was manifested in the supply of reliable means of active defense of Ukraine: anti-tank missile system Matador, tanks Leopard 1A5 and 2A6, Marder fighting vehicle and armored vehicles Dingo, self-propelled guns Panzerhaubitze 2000, MLRS Mars II, armored repair and evacuation vehicles Bergepanzer-2 and -3, equipment for demining, trucks, special tractors, bridge-laying systems and the bridges themselves.

The contribution of the Bundeswehr in anti-missile defense cannot be overestimated — Ukrainian skies are protected by two (promised 4) Iris-T SLM air defense systems and two Iris-T SLS launchers, two Patriot complexes, 46 Gepard installations, and more than 2,000 MANPADS. Stinger and Arrow. Two of the newest Skynex systems are expected.

In addition, subject to the approval of this decision by the parliament, Germany intends to allocate €5 billion annually for military support to Ukraine until 2027. The German arms company Rheinmetall intends to start servicing tanks in Ukraine in the coming days.

IV. Baltic states

В Естонії провели низку заходів до річниці широкомасштабного вторгнення рф в Україну

March in support of Ukraine in Tallinn on February 24, 2023

Recently, the heads of government of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia — Ingrid Šimonite, Krishjanis Karinš, and Kaia Dallas — published a joint statement in which the three countries joined the declaration of the G7 on security guarantees for Ukraine. They expressed solidarity with the people and government of Ukraine, supported its course towards NATO membership, and promised close cooperation in the quest for EU membership.

In addition, military aid from Estonia and Latvia exceeded a third of the countries' defense budgets and, in Latvia's case, even reached a record level of 1% of GDP. Latvia handed over Mi-17 and Mi-2 helicopters, M109 self-propelled guns.

On January 23, Estonia's ambassador to Ukraine, Kaimo Kuusk, said that the country handed over all its 155 mm howitzers to Ukraine so that other countries would have no excuses as to why they could not provide Ukraine with the necessary weapons. Last October, a Pskov trucker with Russian-Estonian citizenship was detained at the Estonian border with three drones, which were confiscated and handed over to the Ukrainian army. A month earlier, the Russian Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies offered a reward of one million rubles to whoever captured the Estonian ground robot THeMIS, which was handed over to Ukraine.

Lithuania will soon hand over NASAMS missile complexes and anti-drone equipment to Ukraine, having already provided Mi-8 helicopters, M113 armored personnel carriers, millions of rounds of ammunition, and ammunition for grenade launchers. The Lithuanians have successfully adopted the Ukrainian experience of civilian crowdfunding for military needs, purchasing for Ukraine one Bayraktar, three maritime kamikaze drones with expressive names, and radars for air defense for €14 million.

V. Great Britain

12 друзів незалежності України

Prime Minister of Great Britain Rishi Sunak and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, May 2023. Then, Great Britain announced the start of training for Ukrainian pilots.

The USA, Canada, and Australia represent other continents — they are far away to expect an operational response from them. European states seem to have been initially too lulled by mantras of 'never again' and full of conviction in the strength of their united economies. Therefore, Great Britain is relatively close geographically and has no illusions of security. This is a rather crooked and romantic explanation. Still, it happened that from the very beginning of the invasion, the British set the pace and rhythm of military aid to Ukraine, constantly raising their own bar of support, being:

  • the first to introduce large-scale sanctions against the aggressor, bringing them to the most massive restrictions on access to foreign military technologies;
  • the first on the continent to send military aid to Ukraine in the form of 5,000 NLAW anti-tank missiles — in total, in 2022, the Royal Air Force carried out more than 240 flights with thousands of tons of weapons and non-lethal aid;
  • the first to announce their intention to conduct training for Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets, and before that, they were among the first to advocate for the provision of 4th generation fighters, including the F-16, to the Armed Forces of Ukraine;
  • the first to provide long-range cruise missiles — Storm Shadow.

Great Britain sent to Ukraine Challenger 2 battle tanks, Brimstone and Starstreak missiles (and Stormer machines as mobile platforms for their launch), 120 Mastiff armored vehicles, FV103 Spartan, 3 M270, an unknown number of helicopters Sea King, dozens of heavy UAVs to provide logistical support for isolated forces, more than 200 thousand helmets, body armor, rangefinders, and medical equipment. By the end of 2023, London will train 30,000 service members of the Ukrainian army. Almost a thousand Ukrainian marines have already completed their training and have become the heroes of several Russian propaganda broadcasts in tearful tones.

VI. France and Italy

12 друзів незалежності України

The Eiffel Tower in Paris in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, February 24, 2023

Last September, a video of President Zelensky's telephone conversation with his French counterpart, which took place on February 24, was published. Emmanuel Macron had a worried look, and Zelensky off-screen insisted on forming an anti-war coalition and asked to call Putin to stop the war. Everyone knows what happened next. Macron called Putin at least eight times over the next two months, telling Ukraine about the importance of peace talks, but the war continued.

Even a year after the invasion, his position denied the need to completely crush Russia. Wishing Ukraine a victory, France still follows a cautious approach to supplying weapons to the Ukrainians, but progress in developing its army depots is noticeable. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers the following areas of assistance to be the main areas:

  • 10 packages of sanctions against Russia;
  • Support of Ukraine's candidacy for joining the EU;
  • €3.6 billion of military support from the European Peace Facility, which does not include purely French aid: €640 million in the form of VAB armored vehicles, Caesar self-propelled guns, TRF1 howitzers, RT 120 mortars, LRU anti-aircraft guns, SCALP missiles and wheeled tanks AMX-10 RC.

In May, Ukraine received the first Franco-Italian long-range SAMP/T-MAMBA air defense system. At the same time, its transfer took place as part of the sixth package of military aid from Italy, which also included other air defense systems — Spada and Skyguard/Aspide. The Armed Forces of Ukraine use two Italian M270 self-propelled guns, six Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled guns, up to 30 M109L self-propelled guns, and dozens of M113 armored personnel carriers. The most important thing is that Italy is ready to support Ukraine to the victorious end. So is France.

VII. Friends not in arms

12 друзів незалежності України

Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida in Kyiv, March 2023

Undoubtedly, weapons weigh a lot in war, but columns of Russian equipment stretched for kilometers without the possibility of refueling demonstrated how vital logistics are. Due to the traditions of neutrality recorded in their constitutions and observed in practice, certain countries do not supply Ukraine with weapons. However, they are able and willing to provide support in other ways.

At the end of June, the World Bank approved providing a loan to Ukraine for $1.5 billion under the guarantee of the Japanese government, which financed Ukraine last year for $1.6 billion, and by the end of 2023 — $3.5 billion is planned. At the same time, in May, Japan handed over 100 cars and 30,000 food rations for the needs of the Ukrainian army, which it had never done for a country at war. All this is not counting body armor, helmets, tents, generators, winter clothes, blankets, military gloves, cameras, boots, medical equipment, and robes.

Since the beginning of the war, Switzerland has allocated about $1.4 billion to Ukraine, but $1.12 billion of them are for accommodating people from Ukraine. There were 100,000 of them. The sale of Swiss weapons to Ukraine or their re-export by third countries is still prohibited, but Switzerland has joined the EU sanctions against Russia.

According to the Federal President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, "military neutrality does not mean value neutrality." Austria's financial support has already exceeded the mark of €150 million for humanitarian demining, treatment, and rehabilitation and solving other problems of the war-affected population.

At the same time, 60% of Austrians supported aid to Ukraine in the fall of 2022 — the average level of support for Ukraine in the EU was 74%. There are no more recent Eurobarometer data, but this remark is important — Ukraine may not be satisfied with the general approach of each country to the assessment of Russian aggression, but even the absence of indifference is already a decent result. In the same way, you can't take offense at the Swiss. Due to the refusal of the authorities to supply weapons to Ukraine, the head of Switzerland's largest arms company, Ruag MRO Holding, Brigitta Beck, resigned — people follow their own laws, and this should be taken into account.

VIII. Czech Republic and Slovakia

12 друзів незалежності України

President of the Czech Republic Petr Pavel in Kyiv, April 2023

If about 90,000 Ukrainian refugees are registered in Austria by the end of 2022, more than 400,000 are registered in the Czech Republic, which is similar in territory. Also not disdainful of the humanitarian component of aid, Prague handed Ukraine weapons worth more than €2.3 billion: more than a hundred Viktor anti-aircraft systems, 2 Kub air defense systems, more than 20 RM-70 Vampire anti-aircraft missiles, an unknown number of Dana self-propelled guns and Dana M2; alleged transfer of a batch of Mi-24B attack helicopters. The Czech Republic gave Ukraine more T-72 tanks than it has in its own army — almost a hundred, cleaning out its own warehouses and modernizing it. Relative to Slovakia, the absolute figures may differ, but its military aid is 10% of the defense budget — S-300 air defense systems, MiG-29 aircraft, and Zuzana 2 self-propelled guns.

The Czech initiative Gift for Putin raised funds for 15 Viktor mobile complexes, Vampire anti-aircraft guns, a T-72 Tomas tank, and ten tons of explosives for the Ministry of Internal Affairs KORD special unit. The Slovaks are collecting €1.2 million for the T-72M1 tank for the Armed Forces of Ukraine under the Gift for Ukraine initiative.

Just recently, Peter Pavel officially allowed 14 Czechs to fight against the Russian Federation as part of the Armed Forces (now there are 146 of them), and Zuzana Čaputová, the president of Slovakia, did the same, and nine Slovaks are fighting side by side with Ukrainian soldiers. It is not known how many there actually are. Still, the official permission of the country's top leadership to fight on the side of another state not only removes the soldier from criminal liability in the future but also becomes an act of support at the international level.

IX. Norway, Sweden, Finland

12 друзів незалежності України

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Kyiv, March 2023

Norway will provide Ukraine with military, humanitarian, and civil aid in the amount of about €7 billion for five years. The country has already placed at the disposal of the Ukrainian army eight MLRS M270, 22 self-propelled guns M109, 14 IVECO LAV III armored vehicles, and three Arthur counter-battery radar systems. The Norwegian NASAMS air defense system defended Kyiv on New Year's Eve, 2023, from an attack by Shahed drones. Ukraine will soon receive two launchers of this complex and a thousand new Black Hornet drones.

Sweden allocated 12 packages of military aid worth more than €1 billion, which include many useful things: the Archer self-propelled gun, which is one of the most modern artillery systems in the world, the CV90 BMP, the joint production and repair of which is not far off, the Karl Gustav ATGM, and Stridsvagn 122 tanks. Ukrainian pilots have started testing Saab Gripen fighter jets that one day may appear in Ukrainian skies.

Inspired by Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, Finland condemned Russian aggression and invasion of Ukraine from the very beginning and has already provided 17 packages of defense aid worth more than €1.2 billion — all Finnish support is calculated at €1.7 billion: six Leopard 2R demining machines, anti-aircraft guns ZU-23-2, 120-mm mortars, ammunition, XA-180 armored personnel carriers, and air defense equipment. The Finns strictly monitor Russia's attempts to circumvent sanctions, trying to nip them in the bud. The most significant merit of Suomi (the Finnish name of Finland) lies in the symbolic and geographical dimension: with its accession to NATO, the length of Russia's common border with the Alliance increased by almost 1,300 km, thereby proving that the Kremlin's aggression against Ukraine was motivated by anything, but not the intention to avoid the approach of the aggressive West, as they stated.

X. Denmark and the Netherlands

12 друзів незалежності України

Volodymyr Zelensky and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte after the announcement of the delivery of 42 F-16 fighter jets by the Netherlands, August 2023

Denmark, together with the Netherlands, lead the European coalition for conducting training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters and recently announced the transfer to Ukraine of 19 Danish aircraft in the next two years (six already this year) and some of the 42 available Dutch ones. Even without this perspective, the countries transferred arms worth billions of euros to Ukraine: the Danish government transferred Harpoon anti-ship missiles, all its Caesar self-propelled guns, and an unspecified number of Leopard 1A5 tanks, and the Netherlands has already transferred and promises to transfer 45 T-72 tanks, 196 BMP YPR, 8 PzH 2000 self-propelled guns, two Patriot SAM launchers, and ships.

XI. Turkey, Canada, and Australia

12 друзів незалежності України

Frigate Ivan Mazepa was launched in Turkey in October 2022

Aid to Ukraine is provided by far and near countries across oceans and seas. Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones have become one of the symbols of Ukrainian active defense, burning enemy columns on the offensive and their boats near Snake Island. The future flagship of the Ukrainian fleet, the frigate Ivan Mazepa, was launched at the Turkish shipyard. Units of the Ukrainian armed forces are already fighting on the Kirpi fighting vehicles and are waiting for the T-155 Fırtına self-propelled guns. Through the mediation of Turkey, Ukraine returned the commanders of the Azov regiment.

Canada's multilateral aid has already exceeded $5 billion —  eight German Leopard tanks, more than 200 Roshel Senator armored vehicles, training of Ukrainian pilots, and confiscating Russian property in favor of Ukraine, like in the case with the AN-124 Ruslan aircraft.

Australia is represented in the Ukrainian armed forces by the M113 armored personnel carrier and the Bushmaster, and from October 2023, the E-7A Wedgetai military reconnaissance aircraft will join them.

XII. Lots of friends

Last, in this symbolic list, we should mention all those who were on duty at Polish and German railway stations, volunteered at Czech and English shops, put pressure on their own governments, gathered at demonstrations in support of Ukraine, tore down Russian flags from cars with Russian license plates and reminded Russian tourists of humanity and respect — citizens of dozens of countries, who did not remain indifferent. In different ways and in various areas:

  • about 20,000 foreigners from near and far abroad are fighting in the International Territorial Defense Legion of Ukraine;
  • Michael Kofman, Phillips Payson O'Brien, Anders Nielsen, Sir Lawrence Freedman, and dozens of other analysts and military experts who analyze every operation and event in this war form a voice of conscience that speaks the truth in different languages, criticizing delay and praising promptness, breaking Russian propaganda in the West;
  • Stijn Mitzer, Joost Oliemans, and the entire community of the OSINT project Oryx — there is no particular reason to say that they are on the side of Ukraine, but the calculation of visually confirmed losses does not allow Russia to underestimate the amount of equipment damaged, destroyed or captured by Ukrainians; destroying the myth of a powerful Russian army is already a game in favor of the Armed Forces;
  • ambassadors of United24, who use their fame and media to support Ukraine, where "people are fighting for freedom, for their homes, people are fighting for their country, people are fighting for their cities and villages" (the words of Dan Reynolds from "Imagine Dragons" during the concert in Warsaw on August 16).


As a bonus friend, we will consider the geographical position of Ukraine, which long ago made it a piece of cake in the geopolitical games of other states and now has brought benefits in the form of relief and landscape (on the plain, it is easier to see the aggressor), climate (the warm winter of 2023 spoiled all blackouts for the enemy).

Ukraine has many friends, and this is a great strength. The ability to make friends comes in handy not only now — it will come in handy even after the end of the war.

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: