Military Assistance to Ukraine

Since Ukrainian independence in 1991 security cooperation with the UK and other Western allies has been a key feature of bilateral and multilateral relations. With aspirations to join both the EU and NATO, initial military assistance to Ukraine was largely focused on defence reform, defence planning and capacity building.

In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the crisis in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, and at the request of the Ukrainian Government, allies significantly stepped up their support. Reiterating their commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, military assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces has been a key part of their overall approach.

In 2015 the UK launched Operation Orbital, a non-lethal training and capacity building operation that provides guidance and training to the Ukrainian armed forces. In August 2020 the MOD announced that the UK will lead a new multinational maritime training initiative that will boost the capacity of Ukraine’s Navy to act in the Black Sea. The UK and Ukraine have also launched the Naval Capabilities Enhancement Programme, which will develop Ukraine’s naval capabilities. To date, over 21,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been trained under these initiatives. The UK has also gifted £2.2 million of non-lethal military equipment.

Since 2014 the United States has provided Ukraine with over $2.5 billion in security assistance, including the training and mentoring of the Ukrainian armed forces, and the provision of military equipment. In contrast to allies, the US began providing Ukraine with lethal weaponry in 2018. In March 2021 the Department of Defense announced a further $125 million military assistance package to Ukraine, the first of its kind under the Biden administration. Further packages were announced in June and September 2021. In response to recent events on Ukraine’s borders, additional US military assistance is under consideration.  

NATO also have a comprehensive package of assistance in place and is committed to intensifying cooperation and promoting defence reform through capacity building and capability development programmes, including a number of trust funds. In June 2020 Ukraine was granted Enhanced Opportunity Partner status in the Alliance which gives the country preferential access to NATO exercises, training and exchanges of information.


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Military Assistance to Ukraine