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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, in 2022, 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 current conflict has 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.

The Commons Library’s Conflict in Ukraine page provides more analysis on the conflict, including sanctions and meeting the costs of reconstruction.

Humanitarian needs

The situation in eastern Ukraine since 2014 caused the country’s humanitarian needs to 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 2024, more than 10,378 civilians have been killed and the number in need of humanitarian assistance has risen to 17.6 million people (around 40% of Ukraine’s 44 million population).

­In February 2024, the Government of Ukraine, the European Union and UN estimated the cost of Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery stood at US$486 billion. The World Bank also estimates Ukraine’s gross domestic product fell 29% in 2022 and poverty also increased from 6% to 24% of the population.

Many people have been displaced

Around 6 million refugees from Ukraine are recorded across Europe, and an additional 3.7 million are displaced within the country. Russia currently hosts the highest number of Ukrainian refugees (1.2 million), followed by Germany (1.1 million) and Poland (956,000). Around 253,000 refugees are in the UK.

UK aid to Ukraine

From 2010 to 2021, the UK provided a total of £204 million in bilateral aid (aid given for a specific programme or purpose) to Ukraine to improve Ukrainian governance and address humanitarian needs.

In 2022, the UK provided £342 million in bilateral aid. Data reported to the Development Assistance Committee, which includes the world’s major aid donors (except China) shows the UK was the eighth-largest donor of aid to Ukraine in 2022.

Between 2022/23 and 2024/25 the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) plans a total of £588.3 million in bilateral aid to Ukraine (other departments may also spend aid). Annual FCDO plans break down as follows:

  • 2022/23: £210.0 million
  • 2023/24: £223.3 million
  • 2024/25: £155.0 million

Specific UK aid pledges include:

Since December 2021, the UK has also announced £4.2 billion of fiscal support to Ukraine via World Bank loan bank guarantees and grants.

The separate Commons Library research briefing, Military assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, sets out what military support has been provided by the UK and its partners to Ukraine since February 2022.

G7, World Bank and IMF support

G7 members are the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, and Japan, as well as the European Union. At the G7 summit in May 2023, the group said it would increase its commitment of budget and economic support for Ukraine for 2023 and early 2024 to US$44 billion. The G7 said it had “ensured Ukraine has the budget support it needs for 2023 and early 2024”.

Together with donors, the World Bank has mobilised US$41.6 billion in finance for Ukraine from February 2022 to February 2024 (around £33 billion).

In March 2023, the IMF also announced a US$15.6 billion programme (£12.8 billion) for 2022 to 2027 as part of its wider package of support for Ukraine.

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