It’s no longer news, but it still deserves attention. By mid-April, Estonia had donated proportionally more military aid to Ukraine than any other nation – including the USA and the U.K. Yet, the war is far from being wrapped up.
According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Estonia had supported Ukraine by 220 million Euros. Per capita, this amounts to one third of its total military budget. By that time, Latvia had also donated nearly one third (220 million Euros) of its military spending, with 13% for Poland, and 11.6% for Slovakia.
The Kiel Institute has also compiled info on aid that had been promised. By mid July, Estonia had filled 98% of the 250 Euros promised. This compares with 96% for the 450 million euros committed by Norway, 88.9% of the 260 million by the Czech Republic, 84.6% of the 80 million by Holland and 82.6% of the 50 million offered by Lithuania.
Following the above lineup are Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. At the bottom of the list are New Zealand and Greece. At the time only ten European nations had lived up to their promises. South Korea, Portugal and Croatia had not yet delivered any of their pledges.
The state with Europe’s leading economy, Germany, had promised 675 million Euros in support of Ukraine but fulfilled its stated obligations by only 3.9%, by 269 million Euros. Within Europe the largest military donation has been Polish, with 100% of its 1.8 million Euros delivered.
Worldwide, the USA by far leads all other countries. By mid-April, the USA had committed almost four times as much military aid as all other 30 Western countries combined. Of the 6.3 billion Euros pledged, 2.33 billion had been delivered by mid-July, that being 38.4% of the promised amount. Canada had delivered 82.5% of its intended military support, this being 920 million Euros.
These statistics can be confusing, but the Keil Institute points to their actual significance. It concludes that it’s the very same Eastern European nations within NATO, who border on Russia and are being identified as possible Russian targets in the future, who have made per capita the largest contribution in supporting Ukraine’s defence against Russia. When comparing the size of their economies with the USA and Germany, it’s remarkable, but not unexpected that Estonia, Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia have been the top four donors.
In terms of each country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Estonia has provided military aid amounting to nearly 0.8% of its GDP. This is followed by Poland with 0.17%, Lithuania with 0.06%, Slovakia with 0.05% and Sweden at 0.045%.
In absolute terms, the USA has been in a class of its own with massive assistance, but per capita it ranks sixth, with military aid amounting to approximately 0.04% of its GDP. Still, one notes that the USA’s contribution is larger than the entire European Union aid. The USA is far from the war zone, but gives substantially more than the EU, with some of these states situated within range of Russian firepower.
As of this writing Ukraine has borne the human cost of fending off a brutal attack by an autocratic, aggressive foreign power. But who is winning? Both claim to have the forward momentum. A skeptical tone about this has in general dominated Western media for several weeks.
But according to experts, it’s the new batch of weapons supplied by the West that seem to be now making a difference. Their enhanced accuracy and longer range give the Ukrainian defenders a reason to adjust their tactics – to go on the offensive. The latest news that Kherson may be freed from Russians, would not only be a key strategic victory, but could also boost Ukrainian morale and shake Western media out of war fatigue slump.
By the end of July, Ukraine had liberated 44 villages and towns in the region, clearly as a result of more effective equipment. But to maintain its resurgent optimism, Ukraine urgently still needs additional war technology for improved reconnaissance and also mounting attacks instead of defending positions.
Observers on location say that most Ukrainians are resigned to a long, protracted battle with Russia. But their fury with the Russian attack and their tenacity to regain their rightful territory leaves little doubt that with enough of the right fighting tools to repel Russia’s assault, Ukrainians will not back down.
We have to match their tough defiance with our political will to stay the course.
(As formerly published in Eesti Elu/Estonian Life)