Ukraine and Beyond: The Role and Potential of UK Aid in the UK’s International Strategy

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the UK collectively sprung into action, from government-supplied armoured vehicles to large scale donations from the private sector, charities and ordinary Britons alike. In the face of stark images of suffering, the UK has been generous in its response to this crisis, and this new report from the BFPG seeks to evaluate the full scale and impact of UK aid delivered to Ukraine since the outbreak of war. It finds that:  

– The UK Government, private sector and UK NGOs have led the way internationally with generous donations and support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

– The UK’s vast knowledge and expertise in a wide range of areas, including not only defence and security in its broadest sense but also health, education and governance, have uniquely positioned the UK in supporting Ukraine to shore up its national resilience.

– Internationally, the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is respected as dynamic, holistic and impactful, including in humanitarian aid. This has served to strengthen positive perceptions of the UK internationally and position the UK as a leading and trusted global partner.

– The extensive damage inflicted on Ukraine by Russia will necessitate significant investment in Ukraine’s reconstruction by the UK and its allies. Given the UK’s wide range of expertise in many of the key priority areas for Ukraine’s reconstruction and the clear public mandate for the UK to continue supporting Ukraine, the UK should strive to play a leading role in this reconstruction.

– Although it has often proven difficult to demonstrate to public opinion a convincing connection between specific aid projects, UK national interests, and causes which the British people care about, the example of Ukraine has shown that there is strong support for action in response to clearly communicated examples of need that align with broadly held values. There has been demonstrable pride in both public and private sector contributions. This suggests that there is a case to be made for development assistance as a powerful component of UK foreign policy in support of British values.


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Evie Aspinall and Eliza Keogh

Evie Aspinall is BFPG's Senior Researcher and Eliza Keogh is a Researcher and Programmes Manager