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On 24 February 2022 Russia launched military action in Ukraine, with forces crossing into the country from Belarus in the north, Russia in the east and Crimea in the south. After failing to take the capital, Kyiv, fighting is now focused in south and eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s military actions have forced many Ukrainians to leave the county and resulted in significant damage to Ukrainian infrastructure and public services, creating a substantial level of humanitarian need.

The events of 2022 and 2023 have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis that has been ongoing in eastern Ukraine since 2014. In that year, Russia annexed Crimea. Two regions in the Donbas, controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces, also declared independence.

The briefing describes the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, the number of displaced people, and what aid the UK and others have pledged from 2022.

For updates on the military situation in Ukraine, sanctions, and other geopolitical aspects to these events, visit the Commons Library’s Conflict in Ukraine page.

Humanitarian needs

The crisis in eastern Ukraine since 2014 saw the country’s humanitarian needs grow. To January 2021, over 3,000 civilians were killed (PDF) and the UN estimated around 2.9 million people were in need of humanitarian aid (eg, to access food, shelter or health services) (at February 2022).

Between February 2022 and January 2023, a further 7,110 civilian deaths have been reported, and the number in need of humanitarian assistance has risen to 17.7 million—around 40% of Ukraine’s 44 million population.

In June 2022, the World Bank, EU and Ukrainian Government estimated the costs of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine then amounted to US$349 billion. The World Bank also projected Ukraine’s economy would shrink by a third in 2022 due to the conflict, and the population share with income below the national poverty line would increase to 60% in 2022, up from 18% in 2021.

Many people have been displaced

Around 8 million refugees have left Ukraine, and an additional 5.9 million are displaced within the country.

While Poland has seen the highest number of recorded border crossings from Ukraine since February 2022 (around 9.3 million), it no longer hosts the highest number of refugees. Russia hosts the highest number, at 2.8 million and Poland, the second, at 1.5 million. Around 160,000 Ukrainians have also arrived in the UK under Government visa schemes.

The UK has pledged aid and loan guarantees

From 2010 to 2020, the UK provided a total of around £204 million in bilateral aid (that is, aid given for a specific programme or purpose) to Ukraine.

Several tranches of funding have been pledged by the UK since February 2022. Section 4.3 provides a full list, but includes:

In April 2022, the Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, criticised the pace at which UK humanitarian aid had been delivered. As of November 2022, around £174 million of the £220 million had been spent (79%). No commitments have been announced for 2023.

The UK is also willing to guarantee lending to Ukraine from multilateral development banks, including the World Bank. As of July 2022, it said it had guaranteed US$950 million (£720 million) in World Bank lending and was ready to provide a further guarantee of US$525 million (£429 million).

Support from the G7 and international bodies

G7 members include the UK, Germany, and Japan. At the G7 summit in June, members pledged to collectively mobilise US$29.5 billion in budget support for Ukraine (£24 billion), and US$2.8 billion in humanitarian aid (£2.3 billion)

The World Bank has mobilised US$18 billion to provide loans and financing for Ukrainian public sector salaries and pensions. The UK’s £74 million pledge for Ukraine forms part of this. The International Monetary Fund has also approved US$2.7 billion in emergency financing (around £2.3 billion).

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