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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.

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 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 June 2023, a further 9,083 civilian deaths have been reported, and the number in need of humanitarian assistance has risen to 17.6 million people (around 40% of Ukraine’s 44 million population).

­In March 2023, the World Bank, the Government of Ukraine, the EU and UN estimated that the cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine stood at US$411 billion. The Bank also estimates Ukraine’s gross domestic product fell 29% in 2022.

Many people have been displaced

Around 6 million refugees from Ukraine are recorded across Europe, and an additional 5.1 million are displaced within the country.

While Poland has seen the highest number of recorded border crossings from Ukraine since February 2022 (13.4 million), it no longer hosts the highest number of refugees. Russia hosts the highest number, at 1.3 million and Germany, the second, at 1.1 million. Around 209,000 refugees are in the UK.

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:

The UK is also willing to guarantee lending to Ukraine from multilateral development banks, including the World Bank. From February 2022, the UK has provided guarantees of up to US$1.5 billion in multilateral development bank lending to Ukraine. In June 2023, it pledged further guarantees of up to US$3 billion through the World Bank between 2024 and 2027.

Support from the G7 and international bodies

G7 members are the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, and Japan. At the G7 summit in June 2022, 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).

Preliminary data for 2022 (PDF) suggests the G7 collectively committed US$13.9 billion (£11 billion) in bilateral aid to Ukraine in 2022 (this does not include aid to multilateral institutions). These figures are partial and subject to future revision. Final figures for UK aid spending in Ukraine during 2022 will be released in Autumn 2023.

The World Bank has mobilised US$37.5 billion in finance for Ukraine from February 2022 to June 2023 (£30 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.

Update log

July 2023: Update sections on UK and international support for Ukraine since 2022 and data on humanitarian need. 

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