How the World Has Come to Ukraine’s Aid

By Ethan Percival

A full year has passed on a war which was predicted by some to last only three days. Ever since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both the Ukrainian People and armed forces have shown incredible resilience in the face of oppression and destruction. Their efforts in defending their sovereignty has only been strengthened by aid donated to them from around the world, including over 45 countries having sent both lethal and non-lethal military aid, economic aid, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Additionally, organizations such as the European Union have made significant financial support to the war-torn country and even begun the process of Ukraine’s EU membership. 

Military aid has been the most instrumental in turning the tide of the war in Ukraine’s favor with most EU and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) countries having sent some form of military aid to Ukraine. Many countries outside of NATO and EU have also sent massive numbers  of aid to arm the Ukrainians, including Australia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Colombia, Finland, Israel, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Sudan, and Taiwan. In truth, if every piece of aid given to Ukraine was listed here in this article it would stretch for hundreds of paragraphs. Instead, let’s explore some of the most consequential aid Ukraine has received over the past year. 

In the first months of the invasion, most countries including the US kept their military aid relatively restricted, preferring to send shipments of small arms, missiles launchers, and protective wear. These shipments of small arms, by March of 2022, included thousands of Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems and Javelin anti-tank missiles, tens of thousands small arms including rifles, pistols, machine guns, and grenade launchers, and millions of small arms ammunition. Additionally, heavier military aid was sent in smaller quantities with nations such as the US sending small numbers of Mi-17 Soviet Helicopters, several dozen lightly armored Humvees, and a few former Coast Guard patrol ships. 

Outside aid to Ukraine also encompassed the heavy economic sanctions placed on Russia by Western powers and their allies which surprisingly included long historically neutral countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland. The results of such heavy economic pressure caused the Russian currency, the Ruble, to crash in value, before it was temporarily propped up by the Russian Government.

However, in April 2022, Russia withdrew from their attempted siege of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and reorganized their forces to the east of the country. What was discovered in the wake of their destruction shocked and horrified the world. In the suburbs of Bucha, a small city on the outskirts of Kyiv, hundreds of bodies of innocent Ukrainian civilians were uncovered, some lining the streets, others thrown into mass graves. The actions of the Russian military in Bucha and countless incidents like it caused countries allied with Ukraine to ramp up their aid exponentially. 

In the coming months, nations from around the world began sending much heavier weapons to the Ukrainian military, some of the more notable examples include: 

The M777 Howitzer, a powerful and accurate piece of artillery which proved extremely important in long ranged artillery duels (Provided by Australia, Canada, and the United States).

Many Eastern European countries send their aging Soviet-era T-72 main battle tanks to strengthen Ukraine’s forces in the armor war. (Provided by Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland) 

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) has proven itself to be one of the most integral and important weapons in Ukraine. It has the capability to hit a target within a three foot diameter. It has been credited with destroying several important Russian command stations, tens of thousands of artillery rounds, and 20 million rounds of small arms ammunition. As of now, 20 units are in service with the Ukrainian Army with 18 more on order, all of which have been provided by the US.

The Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) is an air defense system which can target unmanned-aerial-vehicles (UAVs), helicopters, cruise missiles, and fixed-winged aircraft. The same systems are used to defend Washington DC. 

On July 1, 2022, US President Biden announced the delivery of the NASAMS to Ukraine with eight systems on order. With the first arriving in November of 2022, both the Pentagon and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stated the systems have had a 100% success rate in destroying their targets. As of now the US paid for eight systems to be delivered by the Norwegian defense company: Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace with several in active services with the Ukrainian military. Canada has also announced the payment of one NASAMS missile slated for Ukraine. 

In early 2023, many countries of both NATO and the EU have pledged the shipments of modern main battle tanks to bolster Ukraine’s aging Soviet-era armor battalions. Beginning with France’s promise to send AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicles, a great many nations followed suit. British PM Rishi Sunak pledged to send 14 Challenger 2 MBTs. The nations of Finland, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Lithuania have all either shown interest in or actively planning to transfer some of their German Leopard 2 MBTs to Ukraine and in a deal with the US, Germany not only agreed to allow other countries to transfer their stocks of Leopard 2s to Ukraine, but they themselves would also begin sending Leopard 2 tanks from their our stockpiles, bringing the total number of tanks slated for Ukraine up to 90 units of Leopard 2s. On the US side of the deal, they pledged long term shipments of 31 M1A2 Abrams MBTs, considered to be one of the best and most effective tanks in the world. 

Now, even heavier military aid is being slated for use in the Russo-Ukrainian War. Ukrainian pilots may soon begin training on the US-made F-16 fighter jets in several different countries, so it can be expected that they may be receiving shipments of the aircraft by the year’s end. 

It’s truly inspiring how invested the world is in assisting Ukraine in defense of its independence. Unfortunately, not every piece of aid is listed here, but it should be known that each has significant importance, to matter how small. From bulletproof vests and helmets to assault rifles to some of the most modern and powerful main battle tanks in the world.  Every bit of aid counts toward Ukraine’s victory in this senseless war.

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