Tomorrow marks one year since Russia launched its full-scale attack on Ukraine, with thousands of Ukrainians killed defending their freedom and millions of people forced to flee their homes.
The UK has helped Ukraine’s war efforts by providing military, humanitarian and economic aid, as well as launching a scheme to house civilians.
To date, the government has committed over £6.1 billion of support to Ukraine, but where has this money gone and what are the future spending plans to aid the war-torn country?
How much money has the UK spent on defence for Ukraine?
The UK provided £2.3 billion in military support to Ukraine in 2022 and has already committed the same level of military support in 2023, totalling £4.6 billion over both years.
It has supplied a wealth of rockets, defence systems, armoured vehicles, weapons, ammunition and training to Ukraine over the last year.
Two Sea King Helicopters have also been given to Ukraine in order to provide search and rescue capabilities, with the Royal Navy providing a six-week programme training in the UK for 10 crews of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and associated engineers.
Could the UK do more to support Ukraine’s defence forces?
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is now vying for fighter jets from the UK and other allied countries.
Mr Zelenskyy visited the UK on 8 February, delivering a speech at Westminster Hall and later joining Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for a press conference.
At the end of his Westminster Hall Speech – in which he thanked the UK for its continued support – Mr Zelenskyy mentioned combat aircrafts for Ukraine, calling them “wings for freedom”.
Later on, during the press conference, the question of whether the UK could provide Ukraine with fighter jets in the future was posed to Mr Sunak, who said “nothing is off the table”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Sunak has asked Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to look into potential options regarding jets but no further details, such as potential spending costs, have been confirmed.
Although the Prime Minister didn’t say whether Ukraine would definitely be receiving fighter jets, he did note that the training of Ukrainians in the UK is being expanded to include jet pilots – as well as marines – who would then be capable of using such equipment.
The Ministry of Defence told FactCheck that the UK initially offered to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian troops in battlefield skills based on the UK’s basic soldier training, but this programme has been extended with the aim of training “up to” 20,000 fighters in 2023.
How much money has the UK spent on economic and humanitarian aid?
The UK has also provided £1.5 billion of economic and humanitarian support, with £220 million going towards humanitarian aid, which has helped to reach over 13.6 million people affected by the conflict, according to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
The £220 million includes up to £145 million to United Nations and Red Cross Agencies, and £25 million in matched funding to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal – the UK’s largest ever aid-match contribution, according to the DEC.
For every £1 donated to a UK Aid Match charity appeal, which is funded from the international development budget, the government will also contribute £1 of UK aid – in this case £25m for the DEC Ukraine appeal.
Out of the £1.5 billion, around £1.3 billion has been provided in fiscal support. This has included loan guarantees to support Multilateral Development Banks – financial institutions made up of two or more countries which encourage economic development – to increase their lending to help meet Ukraine’s needs and keep essential services running.
How much has been spent on the Homes for Ukraine scheme?
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLHC) said it paid £700m to local authorities from March to August 2022 for the Homes to Ukraine scheme, which saw ordinary members of the public take in Ukrainian civilians.
In December, DLHC announced a new package worth over £650 million to support Ukrainian and Afghan arrivals with homelessness prevention.
This includes an increased ‘thank you’ payment of £500 a month to sponsors for Ukrainian guests who have been in the country for over a year, with the payments to be extended from 12 months to two years.
It also included £150 million of new UK-wide funding in the 2023/24 financial year to local authorities and devolved governments to help support Ukrainian guests move into their own homes.
A new £500 million Local Authority Housing Fund has also been set up to provide money directly to English councils to acquire housing stock for those fleeing conflict, including from Ukraine and Afghanistan.
The funding can be used to buy housing stock, build new homes, convert existing non-residential properties and refurbish run-down housing or empty homes into accommodation.
The DLHC said it doesn’t have a published list of where the Fund is going yet, but that more details will be announced in “due course”.
Through the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, Ukrainians receive three years leave to remain in the UK from when their visas are granted. The DLHC said it will “keep this under review should an extension be required in the future”.
What are the future plans for aiding Ukraine?
In coordination with G7 allies, the UK has also levied sanctions against Russia, which Rishi Sunak has suggested could be used to fund further support for Ukraine.
As of 16 February 2023, 1,471 Russian individuals and 169 entities have been sanctioned by the UK government, including over 120 oligarchs with global assets worth over £140 billion. On 11 March 2022, 386 members of the Russian parliament (the Duma) were also sanctioned by the UK.
Britain has also frozen the assets of 20 major Russian banks including Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on 8 February, Mr Sunak said the provision of funds from Russian assets would be put in a foundation to help with the reconstruction of Ukraine.
A No10 spokesperson told FactCheck: “We are looking at what we can do in the long term to raise money for the reconstruction of Ukraine using Russian assets.
“This involves establishing an independent foundation to manage and distribute the funds – humanitarian experts outside of government are responsible for this highly complex process. Once established, the foundation will be one of the largest charities in the UK.
“In the meantime we are helping Ukraine through other avenues, including £1.5bn in humanitarian and economic support”.
We asked Downing Street if there was a timeframe in place or a name for the upcoming foundation, or if there any further spending plans after 2023 that are separate from money from Russian assets, but it declined to comment further.