How the EU has been supporting Ukraine

Even before Ukraine came under attack from Russia in February 2022, the EU was keen to support Kyiv and forge closer links. Find out how.


Since withdrawing from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has been keen to pursue its own path, including forging closer links with the rest of Europe.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

Ukraine’s relations with Russia have been tense due to the latter’s determination to keep the country within its sphere of influence. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea in violation of international law, a move strongly condemned by the EU. It has also been waging a hybrid war against Ukraine, including economic pressure and disinformation attacks.

In the months prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, MEPs expressed increasing concern about the country’s military threat and called for a coordinated EU response.

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine. The EU responded with a series of sanctions against Russia as well as initiatives to support Ukraine.

Why the EU and the European Parliament stand with Ukraine

Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is not only an attack on the country’s territorial integrity, but also poses a grave risk to the security and stability of all of Europe. It’s also an attack on the fundamental values the EU stands for such as freedom and democracy.

Check out our timeline of how the EU and the European Parliament are supporting Ukraine in 2024, how the EU and the European Parliament were supporting Ukraine in 2023 and how they supported the country in 2022.

Ukraine’s EU membership prospectives

In 2014, the EU-Ukraine Association agreement was adopted. The deal established political association and economic integration between the EU and Ukraine and provided for mutual free market access.

Ukraine applied for EU membership in February 2022. Parliament supported its application and called on EU countries to grant it candidate status, which happened in June 2022, and later to open accession talks, which were formally launched in December 2023.

In order to join the EU, Ukraine, like other prospective members, needs to have stable institutions guaranteeing democracy and the rule of law; a functioning market economy; and the ability to take on and carry out the obligations of EU membership.

For more information on how the process works, check out how countries join the EU.

The EU is Ukraine’s main trading partner, accounting for more than 55% of the country’s international trade in 2022.


In April 2017, the European Parliament supported an agreement to exempt Ukrainian citizens from EU short-stay visa requirements.

Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport can enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work.

Other support

There are various EU initiatives to support Ukraine’s economy, aid its green transition and help the country to reform. Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, the EU supported Ukraine by condemning Russian aggression, sanctioning those responsible and providing financial and material aid.

In 2022 Parliament approved several loans to Ukraine and supported measures to help countries taking in Ukrainian refugees.

In October 2022 MEPs called for a massive increase in military assistance to Ukraine.

2023 saw Parliament call on Nato to invite Ukraine to join the alliance, fast-track proposals to speed up the production of ammunition, push for a special tribunal to punish Russian crimes, as well as many other measures to support the country.

In February 2024 MEPs reached an agreement with EU countries on the revision of EU’s long-term budget to ensure a stable financing solution for Ukraine. The EU will provide Ukraine with €50 billion in loans and grants until the end of 2027.


To help the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the country, the EU activated the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time to give them immediate temporary protection in the EU.

Parliament approved proposals to help countries looking after Ukrainian refugees.

Sakharov Prize

Parliament awarded the 2022 Sakharov Prize to the brave people of Ukraine. Parliament President Roberta Metsola spoke of the courage and sacrifices of the Ukrainian people at the ceremony: “The Ukrainian people are not just fighting a war of independence but fighting a war of values. The values which underpin our life in the European Union and that we have long had the luxury of taking for granted each and every day.”

Metsola also declared the EU’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s aggression: “The message from Europe has been clear: We stand with Ukraine. We will not look away.”