Almost immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, neighboring countries and others started making commitments to send weapons and military equipment in response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s urgent requests for assistance. The list grew in the first days of the conflict to include states that had previously seemed unlikely to get involved, such as Germany, Sweden, and Norway. Buttressed by these shipments, including $350 million in weapons and equipment from the U.S., Ukraine appears set to continue to put Russian forces at risk over the weeks to come.

What Types of Weapons and Equipment Are Being Sent to Ukraine?

Shipments to Ukraine have so far mostly consisted of small arms, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weaponry, body armor and related equipment, and rations. There has been a particularly heavy focus on anti-tank weaponry, given Russia’s particular strength in this category. 

Recent estimates suggest Russia’s total ground forces have nearly 3,000 main battle tanks, over 5,000 infantry fighting vehicles, over 6,000 armored personnel carriers, and nearly 5,000 pieces of artillery. Before the invasion began, Ukraine was putting prioritizing portable anti-tank capabilities, including the U.S.-made Javelin, which has reportedly been particularly effective against Russia’s armored units.

Major categories of weapons and equipment being sent to Ukraine include:

  • Small Arms: This includes arms like pistols, assault rifles, submachine guns, light machine guns, and accompanying ammunition.
  • Anti-Tank: These include the Javelin, M72, NLAW, Panzerfaust 3, and Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle. These light and portable systems make infantry lethal against armored vehicles. 
  • Anti-Aircraft: Though concerns about Russian air dominance have yet to be realized, Ukraine has highlighted anti-aircraft systems, such as with the Stinger shoulder-fired air defense system, as critical to continuing the fight.
  • Body Armor: Countries are contributing varying types of protective gear, from bullet-proof vests to helmets. This equipment may be particularly valuable given the tens of thousands of civilians recruited to fight through the Territorial Defense Force
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How Is Russia Responding to These Shipments?

These shipments present a potential risk of escalation, and there are worries that Putin will see them as active involvement in the conflict. Before the war began, the Russian government painted the supply of arms, equipment, and training assistance to Ukraine as endangering Russia. In January, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said “We emphasize the need to stop fueling the militant Ukrainian regime with the supply of weapons, instructor assistance, the development of plans and their implementation for the construction of military bases, training events and much more, which poses a direct and immediate threat to us.” For NATO allies and other Western countries, these moves are of course seen as a purely defensive measure, especially in the context of Russia’s invasion of sovereign Ukrainian territory.

The shipments have yet to result in a direct or clear retaliation from Russia. In Russian state media, these shipments are being described as “offensive” weapons (“Spain to send offensive weapons to Ukraine”), likely an effort to further justify the invasion of Ukraine. However, the risk of a potential escalation has led some countries to be more opaque about the contents and quantities of these shipments. The U.S., for example, has become less transparent about assistance going to Ukraine, likely driven by a desire to limit a rise in tensions with Russia. 

Countries Contributing Weapons and Equipment to Ukraine

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some major contributions that have been pledged thus far. Many of these commitments have already reached Ukraine, though precise information on this is scarce.

  • Belgium: Belgium is sending up to 5,000 automatic rifles and 200 anti-tank weapons as well as 3,800 tons of fuel.
  • Canada: Canada has committed to sending an extensive list of equipment and resources, including 4,500 M72 rocket launchers, 7,500 hand grenades, 100 Carl-Gustaf M2 anti-tank weapons, 1,600 fragmentation vests, 400,000 meal packets, and $25 million in additional helmets, night-vision gear, gas masks, and other body armor. Also included in the aid are two Hercules C130 transport aircraft.
  • Croatia: Croatia is sending infantry weapons and protective equipment with a total value of roughly $18.6 million.
  • Czech Republic: Czech contributions across two shipments now amount to over $10 million in artillery shells, machine guns, submachine guns, assault rifles, pistols, and ammunition.
  • Denmark: Denmark confirmed that it would be sending 2,700 “shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles” to the Ukrainian army, likely M72 anti-tank weapons.
  • Estonia: Estonia has reportedly sent an unspecified number of U.S.-made Javelin missiles.
  • European Union: The EU is financing roughly $500 million worth of arms for Ukraine, the first time it has engaged in such an action.
  • Finland: Breaking with its image as a non-aligned country, Finland announced it would be shipping 2,500 assault rifles, 150,000 rounds of ammunition, 1,500 anti-tank weapons, and 70,000 food packages.
  • France: Thus far, France has contributed unspecified defense equipment, though there is some indication this may include anti-aircraft hardware.
  • Germany: In a policy shift on February 26, Germany announced it would directly send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine. Some of the arms already being shipped by the Netherlands and Estonia at that point were of German origin. This was followed up on March 3 with a commitment to send another 2,700 surface-to-air missiles.
  • Greece: Greece has sent an unspecified quantity of weapons — “Kalashnikov rifles and portable rocket launchers” — and other equipment aboard two aircraft. Other shipments have followed but their contents do not appear to be public knowledge.
  • Italy: The Italian government is moving to provide Ukraine with initial shipments of Stinger surface-to-air missiles, mortars, and Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons.
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  • The Netherlands: Rapid shipments coming from the Netherlands include 200 Stinger air defense systems as well as 40 Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank weapons with 400 missiles.
  • Norway: Norway committed on February 28 to send arms to Ukraine. The country has not shipped arms to a non-NATO country since the 1950s. The contributions thus far include 2,000 M72 anti-tank weapons.
  • Poland: Poland’s prime minister has pledged to send “tens of thousands of shells and artillery ammunition, antiaircraft missiles, light mortars, reconnaissance drones and other reconnaissance weapons.”
  • Portugal: Portugal’s Ministry of National Defense said it would contribute unspecified quantities of “vests, helmets, night vision goggles, grenades and ammunition of different calibers, complete portable radios, analogue repeaters and automatic G3 rifles.”
  • Romania: Romania, which shares a border with Ukraine, has committed to sending $3.38 million worth of fuel, ammunition, bullet-proof vests, and military equipment, alongside water and food.
  • Spain: Only two days after declaring the country would not send weapons to Ukraine, Spain committed to sending “​​1,370 anti-tank grenade launchers, 700,000 rifle and machine-gun rounds, and light machine guns” in a first shipment.
  • Sweden: Sweden is breaking its long-held stance of neutrality by sending 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets, and 5,000 pieces of body armor.
  • United Kingdom: The UK is sending lethal and non-lethal aid, including “light anti-armour defensive weapon systems.” Reports indicate this includes 2,000 anti-tank missile launchers in addition to military kit, including body armor, helmets, and combat boots.
  • United States: On February 25, President Biden released $350 million of weapons and equipment to Ukraine, including small arms, body armor, and other munitions but also an unspecified number of Javelin anti-tank weapons.

Published by Phillip Meylan

Phillip is a writer, researcher, and editor. At The Factual, he leads research efforts that utilize the company's ever growing data on the media ecosystem. He is also a contributor to FP Analytics, Foreign Policy's research and advisory division, and an adjunct fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.