Former US President Donald Trump in a major interview with Time magazine charged – again – that Europe isn’t helping out as it should with financial support and arms to Ukraine it should, and that American taxpayers are being taken for a ride, but fact-checks by Time and more in-depth fact-checks by Kyiv Post show reality doesn’t mesh with his narrative.

According to Trump, he supports Ukraine and wants to prevent aggression in the Old World, but Europe isn’t paying anything close to its fair share on the Russo-Ukraine War and deterring the Kremlin. And American largesse and patience has its limits, he said.   

“I want nothing bad to happen to Europe, I love Europe, I love the people of Europe, I have a great relationship with Europe. But they’ve taken advantage of us, both on NATO and on Ukraine. We’re in for billions of dollars more than they’re in in Ukraine. It shouldn’t be that way. It should be the opposite way,” Trump said in part. “Europe has to get there also and do their job. They’re not doing their job. Europe is not paying their fair share.”

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Trump doubled down on the narrative that Europe is delinquent on security spending and that the US is being left holding the tab elsewhere in the interview: “Europe has to pay. We are in for so much more than the European nations. It’s very unfair to us. And I said if Europe isn’t going to pay, who are gravely more affected than we are. If Europe is not going to pay, why should we pay?

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 19, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 19, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

For a full transcript of the interview click here.

But a comparison of Trump’s claims of European stinginess and expansive American largesse to the actual numbers on foreign support to Ukraine by all states since Russia’s Feb. 2024 invasion doesn’t support that narrative.

Based on data published by individual states, Europe and not the US is Ukraine’s primary source of international assistance and has been so for months. European leadership in assistance to Ukraine is undeniable and widening, independent monitoring agencies report.

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Thanks in part to a near four-month total halt to all US assistance to Ukraine, from January through late April, the gap between US support to Ukraine and European support to Ukraine is already distinct, and it’s in Europe’s favor, data compiled on state-to-state assistance by the Kiel Institute for World Economy (KIWE) shows.

According to findings published by that Germany-based independent research group, the value of international financial and military assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s Feb. 2022 invasion from European states to date has been worth some $95.2 billion. That number is money or materiel allocated, as opposed to promised, researchers said.

The United States, over the same period, has committed $71.8 billion to Ukraine in all forms of assistance, an April 24 report compiled by KIWE researchers found.

That finding directly contradicts Trump’s claim that US commitments to Ukraine are “billions more” than Europe’s.

A second Trump gripe about Europe, that clever Brussels politicians are taking advantage of American generosity and good nature, also seemed at least unsubstantiated, and possibly invented, when national burden-sharing is computed. By most estimates, the ballpark size of the EU economy is equivalent to $15.5 trillion annually, while the comparable figure for the US is substantially larger, around $25.4 trillion for FY 2024.

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Based on overall contribution figures referenced to the size of economies, for every dollar’s worth of support the US sends to Ukraine EU states send $1.25. The average individual European citizen is coughing almost three times (Kyiv Post’s back-of-envelope calculation was 2.795 times) as much to tax collectors to help out Ukraine than their American counterpart.

Claims Europeans are not paying their fair share on Ukraine are even more difficult to substantiate if compared using the measure of GDP relative to the total population, i.e., GDP per capita. By that metric, Europeans such as in the Baltic states, Denmark, Poland, and Finland, are spending between one and two percent of their entire national GDP on Ukraine assistance.

US citizens, by that measure, are sharing a Ukraine assistance burden at least three times and as much as six times less than European citizens living in those countries, KIWE researchers found.

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Kyiv Post reviews of previous KIEW reports, statements by individual states and aid updates published by Ukraine Finance Ministry found the KIEW April 24 estimates to be consistent with other officially published data. Kyiv Post first reported overall European assistance to Ukraine was edging out US assistance in total value, in January.

Kyiv Post was unable to determine whether Trump was either unaware of official, state-published data of actual international support both promised to and received by Ukraine, or he was aware of data and ignored it when commenting to Time. Kyiv Post asked President Trump’s office for comment but had not received a response to that request by the time this article was published.

An April 25 KIEW statement cautioned that future estimates of international assistance to Ukraine should be measured not in aid promised, but in actual allocations of money, and noted that in terms of pure military aid European and American assistance to Ukraine are almost exactly equivalent at around $42.5 billion since the start of the Russo-Ukraine War.

But were promises of future aid long-term to become real Ukrainian assistance, and receive allocated funding, the US-European wedge would widen and in the opposite direction Trump complained to Time magazine – currently the figures are the US, $3.53 billion, and Europe, $87.6 billion.

Trump’s remarks regarding Ukraine focused on money and the relative weight of purported fiscal commitments, and effectively ignored political decision-making – in particular a 3-month+ impasse in Congress on US aid to Ukraine, at times dragged out because Trump intervened in cross-party negotiations inside the House.

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Also unmentioned by Trump was a pair of critical European victories on pushing cross-continent support to Ukraine in the early months of 2024, during the US stop to all assistance.

On Feb 1. the European Commission approved a €50 billion ($53.4 billion) financing program called the “Ukraine Facility.” The funding project committed Brussels and EU member state taxpayers to transfer money to Kyiv in grants or highly concessional loans, to pay government worker salaries including paychecks for Kyiv’s close to one million service personnel, pensions, and state services and infrastructure support.

By late March a Czech-led initiative had found political and financial backing in the form of individual state contributions worth at least $1.5 billion to locate on international markets and ship to Ukraine 800,000 critically needed artillery shells, in large part because American shell supplies had dried up at the end of 2023.

A little peculiarly, a Time magazine fact-check report on the Trump interview, published on April 30, did not challenge the former US President’s claim America is paying through the nose for Ukraine and Europe is doing close to nothing. Instead, the 4,000+ word Time review of Trump’s statements for accuracy did not mention the word “Ukraine” even once.

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Comments (18)

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John
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@Jim, 



European institutes alone continue to outpace US aid to Ukraine at 3X the monetary amount. Some individual EU nations have contributed over 4% of their GDP. 

The USA is currently the 31st most generous supporter of Ukraine on a GDP % contribution basis contributing just 0.32% of its GDP (Kiel Institute).



It is greatly appreciated though, due to its niche capability as the largest weapons exporter in world (~40% market share...France is # 2 at 10.9%). USA sales of weapons to Ukraine's allies last year went up 56% to $238 billion.



According to former USA Ambassador Brinker and a former NATO head Breedlove last month: 



"Sending aid to Ukraine is not merely an act of charity; it is an economic investment here at home. Funds that lawmakers approve to arm Ukraine are being used stateside to build new weapons or to replace weapons sent to Kyiv from U.S. stockpiles. 

In fact, of the $68 billion in military and related assistance Congress has approved since Russia invaded Ukraine, almost 90 percent is going to Americans. 



The American Enterprise Institute has identified 117 production lines in at least 31 states and 71 cities where American workers are producing major weapons systems for Ukraine.”

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Jim
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Is this Cherry Picking? How many European countries contribute to the defense of Ukraine? There is only one US. Trump is talking proportionality. NATO countries have vowed to contribute a specific percent of GDP to NATO, because the US has disproportionately funded it from the beginning. Even GB has stated they don't have the capability to defend against a Russian attack. All but a couple of NATO members are failing to meet that agreement. I am glad that Europe is beginning to step up for Ukraine - That is good for Ukraine AND Europe,...and frankly for the US, as we are spending ourselves into extinction.

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Gavan Duffy
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Trump is poor on matters of Western security. He should know exactly how little the US contributes to Ukraine,compared to Europe.Problem is he has no capable opponent. Europe should forget about the US as an ally.

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Dijon
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I never heard of Bigly. Where is he from? Is he related to Widely or to Largely?

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Saqqara
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He-he as soon as Trump opens his mouth, you know he is going to make a clown of himself again. I seriously doubt he has the capacity to look up one single fact.
The reasoning about Europe and Ukraine is not equal to his stupid reasoning about the US and NATO. The US military budget is equal to what the US government think is necessary to realize its foreign policy. That is not NATO foreign policy. The reason why the US spend more on NATO issues is the size of the US GDP. Equally that is the reason why Island and Luxembourg doesn't spend anything. Trumps two separate braincells seem to have trouble comprehending anything that is more complicated than 2 + 2 = 5 ;-)

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rhoneyman
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Stefan, I always include UK in EU numbers believing that even after Brexit, the UK is still part of Europe. The 2022 GNP for the combined UK/EU was in the range of $21.3 T. Lower than the US's $25.6 T, but not nearly as dramatic a gap.

If we look at money spent plus committed, I think the differential in favor or UK/EU holds, as the EU recently, over Hungary's petulance, committed about $60 B earlier this year. The UK seems to be far more piecemeal but will likely add another $5-10 B.

IOW, TFG remains a pathological ill-informed liar.

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LM
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Author is a Yale graduate. Ivy league... All hat and no horse.

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Jungle Jim
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It is so funny! Whenever someone states an opinion contrary to your own you cry troll! troll! If you can’t take a healthy debate, then go sharpen your knife collection and of being a war hero and stead of a heel.

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John
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@putinrump is ripe for jail

My how desperate the MRGA trolls are getting. Their falsehood spreading on these forums only outdone by their cult master putinrump himself.

Criminal, defrauding, insurrectionist, sex offender putinrump represents putins' voice; not the voice of the 'UNITED' States. Both are congenital liers, sharing the same goal of 'UN-UNITING' all democracy. No one has ever worked harder to sow dissent in the USA than putinrump. Brainwashed low IQ, Kool-Aid drinking MAGA cult members actively want to use violence to oppress the will of the majority of USA citizens. They attempted insurrection to overthrow the President Americans legally elected.

The USA is only mighty when it is UNITED.

MAGA=MRGA. Putin= putinrump. Neither will ever UNITE Americans. Neither have any interest in making the USA (or an democracy) Great.

Ukraine and the USA and the EU are all victims of both despots. All democracies are victims of their malfeasant deviant urnings.

How the world will rejoice when both their hate spewing days on earth have ended

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Trump is right
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Europe and Ukraine are freeloaders period.

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Hugh Jarce
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"Kyiv Post was unable to determine whether Trump was either unaware of official, state-published data of actual international support both promised to and received by Ukraine, or he was aware of data and ignored it when commenting to Time."

What do you think?

Trump is a serial liar and always has been: https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

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Ivanhoe
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Facts are on Trump’s side. Look at list of which NATO nations’ are spending 2% of their GDP. Only 8 nations have reached this level as of April 2024.Even Germany has not quite achieved 2%. Yes, NATO is coming up to speed, but it is the top 25% that is paying. Defense spending is like accident insurance. The accident is like, Ukraine. Europe stopped paying the premiums quite some time ago. Now that they have an accident they want the US to use their policy to cover the bill. America has paid up its premium decade after decade. We have developed our Industrial Military Manufacturing to keep us safe, not the whole world. Today there is only one other country that can compete with American, that is China. We remember the Pacific War sixty years ago. Now it seems that it is about to happen again. Is NATO going to send all its military might to help use in this war? No. They say this is America’s war.

Hugh Jarce
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@Ivanhoe

"Facts are on Trump’s side."

Not when it comes to who's contributed more to Ukraine they're not.

"Look at list of which NATO nations’ are spending 2% of their GDP."

This is a completely separate issue to aid to Ukraine. It's whataboutism.

Plus blinding spending 2% (or more, or less) of GDP on defence is idiotic if that money isn't spent WISELY.

As a Brit, I consider our spending on two aircraft carriers and F-35Bs ludicrous and a complete waste of money.

We could have spent that money far more sensibly to deal with the threat from Russia by putting Taranis drones into large-scale production, as well as Jackal and Hydra drones, and by buying Type 212 diesel-electric AIP subs, especially when they get IDAS missiles in the near future.

And we'd have got much more bang for our buck (or pound) as a result even within our current spending limits without having to increase defence spending.

"We have developed our Industrial Military Manufacturing to keep us safe..."

Have you?

I can't see American carrier groups being much use if Naval Base Guam is put out of operation.

And if Andersen AFB and Kadena AFB are put out of operation, all that money spent on bombers and F-35As will have been a complete waste of money.

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Mark Rockford
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Trump’s opinion is irrelevant. He should concern himself with his current criminal trial regarding paying off pornstars and playmates who he had affairs with. He will never be President again. The only person willing to team up with him is fellow loser “I took on Disney and got humiliated” Ron DeSantis.

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Makuye
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It is Past time that media CEASE reporting the words of a fraud, tax cheat, rapist and multiple felon.
The SOLE relevant news on the man is his conviction and sentence length.

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David Lawrence
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The US has sent or committed to send $135B to Ukraine while simultaneously spending $60B to aid other Allie's against the same same axis which threatens Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Add in that an additional $2.4T in other defense outlays the US taxpayer has funded while NATO nations are comparably abject in their defense responsibilities in the face of Russian aggression for a decade now.

Articles such as this are extremely irritating and hurt your purported cause. With an attitude such as this, perhaps Trump is right. Do it without us.

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Coach John
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While being aware that Ukraine's very survival is based on the adage 'Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst', this American commenter feels a sense of relief that the author Mr. Korshak does not appear to share - that there is no way in Hell Trump will be elected President of the U.S.A. this November.

Hates pooo-tin
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@Coach John, <<--- While I share your hope for Nov '24, there's too many "potted plants" AKA usa vooo-ters might skew our wish via ELECTORIAL COLLEGE.

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John
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With a documented 30,500 lies during putinrumps disastrous former White House stint, and with a stunning 4091 lawsuits before and after that (plus to impeachments and and insurrection attempt), it quite baffling some people believe what congenitally lying criminal putinrump says.

Apparently there is no such thing as bad news coverage for a despot these days. Seems making outrageously false statements is the way to attack media attention and the easily brainwashed MRGA sheep. In fact in they not only gobble it up but craves more.

Who would have thought criminal activity and lies would grow to be so revered with so many Americans. I suppose the stage was preset by US media first being leveraged to sow stupidity and dummify its viewers. Like china's tic-toc tool its purpose seemingly being only to distract the public from the larger issues and keep it in a stupefied state.

They used to say you are what you eat, but what one watches also shapes who they become.

Hugh Jarce
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@John,

"In fact in they not only gobble it up but craves more"

As the Bible says:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

But MAGA types have never read the Bible. Nor has Trump.

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Go home orcs
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The US is no longer the policeman for the free world. Fair enough , Europe can and should do more for Ukraine. Europe should also get their own nuclear weapons, and stop depending on the Americans. With sleepy joe and cheesecurl at the helm things can go more south in the future. Everything that goes to Ukraine is a investment for their future and a safe Europe. Also energy wise. These russians will end up like north korea, iran. Build a wall Europe , keep the looters, war criminals , on the other side . Kick the orcs out off Ukraine. Its not 2014 anymore.

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