How Much Would 0.25% of Ramstein Group Members’ GDP Really Raise for Ukraine?

March 07, 2024
Conor Cunningham, RM Staff

UDCG group meeting, January 2023Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was quoted on Jan. 17, 2024, as saying that every member of the so-called Ramstein group should channel the equivalent of 0.25% of their gross domestic product to Kyiv annually, which “would raise at least €120 billion ($131 billion) and swing the conflict in Ukraine’s favor,” according to Bloomberg.

In her claim, Kallas did not list members of this group, which is officially known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), only noting that the group comprised more than 50 countries, including all 31 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Thus, we contacted Kallas’ staff to ask for the list of members. The prime minister’s office referred us to the Wikipedia page, and advised contacting the press service of the U.S. Department of Defense, which typically hosts the group’s meetings at the U.S. Air Force’s Ramstein air base in Germany (thus, the informal name of the group), for an official list. In response to the RM inquiry, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Charlie Dietz identified 43 countries (44 including Ukraine) as members of UDCG, listed below in Table 1.

Having ascertained the number of group members, as calculated by the Pentagon, we then totaled 0.25% of their GDP for 2022, as measured by the World Bank in constant (and, thus, inflation-adjusted) dollars. The resultant sum equaled €117.87 billion ($128.3 billion) (see Table 1). That comes close to Kallas’ estimate, even though she stated that the group includes more than 50 countries, while Pentagon spokesman Dietz identified only 43 members of the group. For our calculation, we rely upon the number supplied by the Pentagon, as the UDCG is led by the U.S. Given the discrepancy between the Pentagon spokesman’s number and the prime minister’s number, we can posit that 0.25% of the approximately 10 remaining countries’ GDP likely satisfies the gap between $128.3 and $131 billion.  

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