Ukrainian Ground Forces
Сухопутні війська Збройних сил України
Emblem of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, containing the tryzub and cossack cross
Active1917–1922, 1991–present
RoleGround warfare
Part ofArmed Forces of Ukraine
HeadquartersKyiv, Ukraine
AnniversariesArmy Day
(6 December)[2]
CommanderLieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk
EnsignEnsign of Ukrainian Ground Forces
Cap badge
Shoulder sleeve insignia

The Ukrainian Ground Forces (Ukrainian: Сухопутні війська Збройних сил України), also referred to as the Ukrainian army, are the land forces of Ukraine and one of the eight branches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They were formed from Ukrainian units of the Soviet Army after Ukrainian independence, and trace their ancestry to the 1917–22 army of the Ukrainian People's Republic.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine retained its Soviet-era army equipment. The Armed Forces were systematically downsized and underinvested in after 1991. As a result, the Ukrainian army had very little of its Soviet equipment in working order by July 2014, and most systems had become antiquated. Personnel numbers had shrunk and training, command, and support functions needed improvement.[3] After the start of the war in Donbas in April 2014 in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine embarked on a program to enlarge and modernise its armed forces.[3][4][5] Personnel in the Ukrainian Armed Forces overall climbed from 129,950 in March 2014[6] to 204,000 active personnel in May 2015,[7] with 169,000 soldiers in the Ground Forces branch as of 2016.[8][needs update] In 2016, 75% of the army consisted of contract servicemen.[9][needs update] Since 2014, Ukraine's ground forces have also been equipped with increasingly modern tanks, APCs, and many other types of combat equipment.[10]


Ukrainian People's Army soldiers in front of St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv, 1918

The Ukrainian Ground Forces traces its ancestry to the Ukrainian People's Army and the Ukrainian Galician Army of 1917-21. It fought in the Ukrainian War of Independence (the Ukrainian-Soviet War), the Southern Front of the Russian Civil War, the Polish–Ukrainian War, and the PolishSoviet War.

Since 2015, with the adoption of the Defenders Day holiday, certain traditions of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army of World War II have been incorporated into the ethos and culture of the Ground Forces.

Collapse of the USSR

Ukrainian soldiers on a military exercise in 1998

The August 1991 Soviet coup attempt began the process of splitting the Soviet military. Leonid Kravchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, declared on 24 August 1991 the formation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the subordination of Soviet military units in Ukraine, and the creation of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. On 3 September 1991 the Soviet Air Force major general Kostyantyn Morozov was appointed the first Minister of Defense of Ukraine by the Verkhovna Rada, the new parliament. In October the Council of Ministers declared that a Ukrainian army would be created with 450,000 troops and the Ukrainian parliament adopted several laws that created the framework for the creation of Ukrainian ground, naval, and air forces, as well as a national guard. The Soviet defense ministry was opposed to this initially, but by early November they started talks with the Ukrainian defense ministry to manage the division of Soviet forces in Ukraine.[11]

The Ground Forces were officially established on 6 December 1991 as part of the armed forces, with a presidential decree on 12 December - from then on marked as Ground Forces Day - being the first that designated the Soviet Army's Ukrainian formations as the ground component of the new force.

After their establishment, in 1992 the Ukrainian Ground Forces included approximately 245,000 personnel[12] and 6,500 tanks.[13]

Creation of the Ground Forces

Ukrainian army Soldier in Iraq, 2003

The Ukrainian Ground Forces were the second largest army in Europe at the time.[11] Following the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, among those formations gained by the new Ukrainian Ground Forces by inheritance from the old Soviet Army were the 1st Guards Army, the 13th Army, the 38th Army, two tank armies (the 6th Guards Tank Army and the 8th Tank Army), and the 32nd Army Corps at Simferopol. The 28th Guards Motor Rifle Division and the 180th Rifle Division were left in Ukraine, having been previously under the 14th Guards Army headquartered at Tiraspol in the Moldovan SSR. The post of commander of ground troops was designated in early 1992. By the end of 1992, the Kyiv Military District was disbanded, and Ukraine used its structures as the basis for the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff.[14]

The government made an effort to get all troops to take an oath of allegiance to Ukraine to prevent a possible coup. All personnel were required to either take the oath, or to retire or return to their home republic. The Ukrainian oath of loyalty that was administered was not based on ethnicity or linguistics but on a civic identity, and turned the Soviet military in Ukraine into the Ukrainian military. As of February 1992 about 80% of personnel had taken the oath, according to Defense Minister Morozov. Laws establishing regulations the personnel and technical basis for the military were passed in 1992, which included keeping the Soviet rank structure, with the exception of the rank of marshal, which was replaced with general of the army of Ukraine. It was planned that the restructuring of the entire Armed Forces would take place until 1995.[11]

Between June and August 1993, the first redesignation of armies to army corps appears to have taken place.[15] While the post of Chief of Ground Forces had been created in early 1992, it was over two years before the first holder, Colonel General Vasily Sobkov, was appointed on 7 April 1994.[16] The legal framework for the Ground Forces was defined in Article 4 of the law 'On the Armed Forces of Ukraine.' At that time, the Ground Forces had no separate command body, and were directly subordinate to the Ukrainian General Staff.[citation needed]

The creation of the Ground Forces as a separate branch of the young AFU was formalised by Presidential Decree 368/96 of 23 May 1996, 'On the Ground Forces of Ukraine.'[17] That year both the Ground Forces Command was formed and the 1st Army Corps was reorganised as the Northern Territorial Operational Command (which became the Northern Operational Command in 1998). In 1997 the Carpathian Military District was reorganised as Operational Command West.

From 1992 to 1997, the forces of the Kyiv MD were transferred to the Odesa MD, and the Odesa MD's headquarters moved to Donetsk.[18] A new 2nd Army Corps was formed in the Odesa MD. Armies were converted to army corps, and motor rifle divisions converted into mechanised divisions or brigades. Pairs of attack helicopter regiments were combined to form army aviation brigades.[citation needed]

In a December 1996 speech, President Leonid Kuchma revealed that as many as 191 mechanised infantry and tank battalions were rated not ready, adding,"This is especially dangerous in the forward-based units securing the nation's borders."[19]


Ukrainian and US Army soldiers during the 2011 Rapid Trident exercise

Under a plan promulgated in 2000, the Ground Forces were to reduce the number of troops from 300,000 to 240,000 by 2015, and an ultimate change from a partial conscript-based force to a fully professional military.[20] The armed forces received little more than half of the Hr 68 million it was promised for reform in 2001, but managed to disband nine regiments and close 21 local military bases.[nb 1]

In 2005–06, the Northern Operational Command was reorganised as Territorial Directorate "North". It was tasked with territorial defence, mobilisation training, and preparation of reserves.[21][nb 2]

From 1991 the Ukrainian Ground Forces bought its military equipment only from Russia and other CIS states, as well as locally producing some of their own equipment.[3][4] Until 2014 and the start of the war in Donbas, the defence industry in Ukraine produced equipment mostly for export.[23][3]

Russian occupation of Crimea

Main article: Crimean crisis (2014)

Ukrainian troops in 2013, a year before the Crimean crisis

In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution, Russian special forces in unmarked uniforms began surrounding Ukrainian military bases on the Crimean peninsula before capturing them individually using a mixture of attrition and threats.[24] Over the following weeks the Russian Armed Forces consolidated control of the peninsula and established road blocks to cut off the possibility of Ukraine sending reinforcements from the mainland.[25] The takeover of Crimea was largely bloodless, as the Ukrainian soldiers there did not fight back.[26] By the end of March, all remaining Ukrainian troops were ordered to pull out of Crimea.[27]

The Ukrainian army was considered to be in a poor state during and after the annexation, with only 6,000 of its troops ready for combat and many of its vehicles lacking batteries.[28] After Russia's annexation only 6,000 of the 20,300 Ukrainian soldiers stationed in Crimea before the annexation left the peninsula. The rest stayed in Crimea and defected to Russia.[29][30]

Russo-Ukrainian War

War in Donbas (2014–2022)

Main article: War in Donbas (2014–2022)

Ukrainian soldiers during the war in Donbas

In the early months of the war in Donbas that erupted in 2014 the Armed Forces were widely criticised for their poor equipment and inept leadership, forcing Internal Affairs Ministry forces like the National Guard and the territorial defence battalions to take on the brunt of the fighting in the first months of the war.[31][32]

By February 2018 the Ukrainian Armed Forces were larger and better equipped, numbering 200,000 active-service military personnel. Most of the volunteer soldiers of the territorial defence battalions were integrated into the Ukrainian army.[33]

Within the reporting period of 16 November 2017 to 15 February 2018 a United Nations OHCHR monitoring mission documented 115 cases of credible allegations of human rights abuses committed by Russia and its proxy forces.[34] The nature of the crimes ranges from enforced disappearances, looting of civilian property, torture, rape and sexual violence up to political repression and extrajudicial killings.[34]

Full-scale Russian invasion (2022–present)

Ukrainian soldier in a trench during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022

Main article: 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 24 February 2022, Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.[35] The Ground Forces have been participants in most of the land combat actions of the ongoing war. The influx of Western material and supplies to the branch before and during the conflict as well as mobilisation efforts have resulted in a massive expansion of the force, in addition to ongoing force modernisation.

Military training and education centres

See also: Ukraine–NATO relations

Ukrainian special forces soldiers during an exercise in November 2015
Ukrainian soldier and Canadian soldier conversing with each other during the 2014 Rapid Trident exercise in Yavoriv, Ukraine

Training in 2006 was aimed at developing mobility and combat readiness of the forces.[36] The Ukrainian Armed Forces took advantage of the opportunities provided by UN exercises and exercises where Ukraine, NATO members, and other partners participated.[36][37]

Training resulted in 6,000 combat-ready troops in the spring of 2014 of Ukraine's (then) 129,950 active military personnel.[28][38] In 2016 the Ukrainian army had more than 200,000 combat-ready soldiers of its 260,000 active personnel.[7][39]

In 2015 Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada established the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U), setting up three new training sites in Khmelnytskyi, Kamianets-Podilskyi, and Yavoriv.[39] The latter, known as the International Centre for Peacekeeping and Security or the Yavoriv Combat Training Centre, was hit by eight Russian missiles in March 2022.[40]

It appears that the SAS has left behind forces to train Ukrainian soldiers. At least two officers from the SAS were confirmed as having been in Ukraine, each being posted with a different battalion near Kyiv; emphasis has been training Ukrainian soldiers how to use the Anglo-Swedish NLAW. Other soldiers have actually been trained in the UK, according to the article, with the training course being approximately two weeks long for each participant.[41] This follows an earlier report of British special forces being left behind in Ukraine. This includes the SAS, the Special Boat Service, and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. Other contributors appear to be unnamed special forces from Eastern European countries. These forces are training the Ukrainian military in sabotage, counter-insurgency, and sniping.[42]

Education centres

In 2007 the network of exercise and training ranges and centres was optimized, decreasing their number and increasing the specialization of each centre.[43]

Schooling occurs at:

Training ranges are at:[citation needed]

  • Uzhhorod Military Training Centre
  • Storozhynets Military Training Centre
  • Yavoriv Military Training Centre
  • Rivne Military Training Centre
  • Novohrad-Volynskyi Military Training Centre
  • Zhytomyr Military Training
  • Soshnikovskyi Military Training Centre
  • Maloye Ozero Military Training Centre
  • Poltava Military Training Centre
  • Chuhuiv Military Training Centre
  • Chervona Polyana Military Training Centre
  • Samarskyi Bor Military Training Centre
  • Mykolaiv Military Training
  • Shyrokiy Lan Military Training Centre
  • Bolhrad Military Training Centre
  • Shirokyi Ovrag Military Training

Branches of the Ground Forces

Armoured and mechanised forces

Main articles: Mechanized Infantry (Ukraine) and Armoured Forces (Ukraine)

A Ukrainian soldier in a KrAZ Spartan preparing to engage the opposition force during an air assault at Exercise Rapid Trident 16 July 3, 2016
A Ukrainian army T-64BM during a training exercise

Mechanised infantry and armoured forces brigades constitute the largest and primary components of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. Their primary objectives in the case of wartime operations are: capturing and holding targets, maintaining positions, defending against attack, penetrating enemy lines, and defeating enemy forces.

The mechanised infantry and armoured forces are equipped with a combination of Soviet-made (part of them modernised), more modern Ukrainian-made, and increasingly Western-made armoured vehicles, including variants of the T-80, T-64,[45] (T-64BV Model 2017, T-64BV), T-64BM "Bulat"[46] and T-72UA1 main battle tanks,[47][48][49] BTR-4, BTR-60, BTR-70, and BTR-80 wheeled armoured personnel carriers, and BMP-1, BMP-2, and BMD-2 infantry combat vehicles.

In the years after the fall of the Soviet Union, a large number of the former Soviet mechanised infantry and armoured formations on Ukrainian soil were disbanded – the IISS said the numbers dropped from 14 divisions in 1992, to two divisions, six brigades, and one independent regiment in 2008.[50] Today, the key echelon for mechanised and armoured formations is the brigade.[citation needed]

The mechanised infantry brigades, together with the newer motorised infantry and assault infantry brigades, constitute the Infantry Corps of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. The Armoured Forces also constitute their own corps.

Established in 1991, these two corps are the oldest combat arms of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.

Light infantry brigades

The Ukrainian Ground Forces also include two mountain assault infantry brigades, two Jäger infantry brigades, and four reserve rifle infantry brigades. All of these units are part of the Infantry Corps and alongside those of Soviet made manufacture, these are being supplied with Western products and arms systems locally produced by the Ukrainian defence industry.[51]

Army Aviation

Mil Mi-24 helicopters of the Ukrainian Army Aviation

The Ukrainian Army Aviation provides reconnaissance, tactical fire support and air transport for the Ukrainian Ground Forces in support of its paramount responsibilities to the nation. As of 2017 Ukraine's army fields four Army Aviation brigades in an Army Aviation Command directly subordinated to the Ground Forces HQ, each in support of operational commands of the UGF:

The Army Aviation's maintenance facility is the 57th Aviation Base in Brody. The service's equipment includes Mi-2, Mi-8, and Mi-24 helicopters.

Rocket Forces and Artillery

Main article: Rocket Forces and Artillery (Ukraine)

Ukrainian BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers on parade in Kyiv

The RF&FA (Rocket Forces and Field Artillery) Corps constitute one of the oldest combat support corps of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. Established 1991 on the basis of Soviet Army artillery divisions assigned to the AFU and the field artillery of the UGF's divisions, units of this corps provide artillery fires support to formations of the Ground Forces in combat operations and in wartime operational support of other branches of the AFU in fulfillment of its missions to the nation.

Ground Forces Air Defence Missile Artillery

The Army Anti-Air Defence Missile Artillery regiments and brigade-level battalions or regiments in the infantry and armoured brigades are responsible for protecting troops against enemy air attacks anywhere on the battlefield, and while in combat or in static protection of UGF facilities. The army air defence branch is equipped with a variety of effective surface-to-air missile systems of the air defence regiments and anti-aircraft missile and artillery complexes under the brigades' air defence battalions or regiments. Brigade level units are characterized by their high rate of fire, vitality, maneuverability, and capability of action under all conditions of modern combat arms operations. Surface-to-air missile systems and complexes of operational command level are characterised by their long range and firepower and are equipped with surface-to-air missile complexes Osa, Buk, Buk-M1, and Tor. Anti-aircraft missile and artillery complexes that are of brigade level are equipped with various ex-Soviet and Western systems like the Tunguska-M1, Igla MANPADS system, Strela, and Shilka anti-aircraft missile systems.[52]

Ukrainian S-300P launchers

Formed in 1992, it is also one of the oldest combat support corps of the Ground Forces.


Ukrainian three man anti-tank team moving on foot in a winter maneuver, carrying a Stugna-P ATGM

The war in Donbas caused a radical reform of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in general and the Ukrainian Ground Forces in particular; it built and expanded on the 2011 structure.[53] As of 2022 the structure is the following:[54]

Ground Forces Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Military Unit [MU] А0105), Kyiv.[55][56]

Senior command personnel:[57]

Formations and units directly subordinated to the Ground Forces Command:

Educational institutions

Training establishments units directly subordinated to the Ground Forces Command:[54]

Operational Command West

Operational Command West (MU А0796) is headquartered in Rivne and has an area of responsibility covering the Volyn, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, and Chernivtsi Oblasts.

A BMP-2 providing fire support for infantry during an exercise

Headquarters, Rivne[55][56]

Combat support units:

Combat units:

Territorial Defence units:

Regional Directorate [of Territorial Defence] 'West', Rivne, Rivne Oblast

Operational Command North

Operational Command North (MU 4583) is headquartered in Chernihiv and has an area of responsibility covering the Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Poltava, Sumy, Cherkasy, and Chernihiv Oblasts and the capital city of Kyiv.

Headquarters, Chernihiv

Combat support units:

Combat units:

Territorial Defence units:

Regional Directorate [of Territorial Defence] 'North', Kyiv

Operational Command South

Operational Command South (MU 2393) is headquartered in Odesa and has an area of responsibility covering the Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Kherson Oblasts.

Headquarters, Odesa[55][56]

Combat support units:

Combat units:

Territorial Defence units:

Regional Directorate [of Territorial Defence] 'South', Odesa, Odesa Oblast

Operational Command East

Operational Command East (MU 1314) is headquartered in Dnipro and has an area of responsibility covering Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Kharkiv Oblasts with the Russian-occupied territory of Crimea nominally attached to it as the Separate Ground Forces Area (Окремий військово-сухопутний район). OC East is the general command responsible for frontline regular UGF formations fighting in the war in Donbas and the ongoing Russian invasion.

Headquarters, Dnipro[55][56] (as the result of the war in Donbas, a split from OC "South")

Combat support units:

Combat units:

Territorial Defence units:

Regional Directorate [of Territorial Defence] 'East', Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast

Ground Forces Area - Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula, these structures exist only nominally:

XI Army Reserve Corps

XI Army Reserve Corps[60][61]

The UGF Reserve Corps (Ukrainian: Корпус резерву) was raised in 2016 and was directly subordinated to the General Staff via the Commander of the Ground Forces. It is also called the Army Strategic Reserve Corps. Its main function is to prepare and administer reservists of the ground forces. According to plans the Reserve Corps was to be fully operational by 2020 with reserve servicemen in three separate categories:[62]

In that organisation, the XI Army Reserve Corps - as it has been currently named since 2024 - is currently engaged in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its reservists have fought in every ground operation of the conflict.

Geographic distribution

List of commanders

Title "Commander-in-Chief" (Ukrainian: Головнокомандувач) 1992 – 2005, "Commander" (Ukrainian: Командувач) 2005 – present

Military ranks

As a non-member state, NATO rank codes are not used in Ukraine, they are presented here for reference purposes only

Main article: Military ranks of Ukraine

As part of the new uniforms the Ukrainian Ground Forces unveiled in August 2016, the stars that traditionally adorn shoulder straps in the militaries of post-Soviet states were replaced by diamonds.[63]

General and officer ranks

Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Ukrainian Ground Forces[64]
Бригадний генерал
Bryhadnyi heneral
Старший лейтенант
Starshyi leitenant
Молодший лейтенант
Molodshyi leitenant

Other ranks and NCOs

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Ukrainian Ground Forces[64]
Головний майстер-сержант
Holovnyi maister-serzhant
Старший майстер-сержант
Starshyi maister-serzhant
Головний сержант
Holovnyi serzhant
Старший сержант
Starshyi serzhant
Молодший сержант
Molodshyi serzhant
Старший солдат
Starshyi soldat


Main article: List of equipment of the Ukrainian Ground Forces


The Ukrainian army unveiled its new uniforms on 24 August 2016 (Independence Day of Ukraine).[63] The new uniforms are modeled on British military styles, having a modern pixelated digital camouflage pattern.[63] They also incorporate details from the uniforms worn by the Ukrainian People's Army.[63] The new cap includes an insignia of a Ukrainian Cossack grasping a cross.[63]


The majority of tanks and armoured vehicles in Ukrainian service as of 2022 were of Soviet origin, such as the T-64 and T-72 tank families, the BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, and the BTR-60 armoured personnel carrier.[65] Tank donations from the West to Ukraine have been mostly T-72 variants, with the majority of Western tanks being from the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 families.[66] Western armoured vehicles donated to Ukraine include the Bradley and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, the Stryker, M113, and Roshel Senator armoured personnel carriers, and the Humvee family of light military vehicles.[67]


Before Western artillery systems started being donated in 2022, Ukraine operated an artillery park that mostly consisted of older Soviet-designed equipment. Soviet self-propelled guns in Ukrainian service include the 2S1 Carnation, the 2S3 Acacia, the 2S7 Pion, and the 2S19 Msta-S.[65][68] The Ukrainian army also operates the BM-27 and BM-30 rocket artillery systems, with the D-20 and Msta-B towed guns being used primarily by motorised infantry formations.[68] Western artillery donated to Ukraine consists mostly of the M777 towed howitzer, the M119[69] and L119 towed field guns, the M109 and AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers, and the HIMARS and M270 rocket artillery systems.[70]


Ukrainian Army Aviation operates three families of Soviet-designed helicopters: the Mi-2 for training, and the Mi-8 and Mi-24 for transport and attack.[71]

Deployment outside of Ukraine


Henadii Lachkov, commander of the Ukrainian contingent in Iraq, kissing his country's flag

Ukraine deployed a sizable contingent of troops to Iraq as part of the Iraq War, which were stationed near Kut. Ukraine's troop deployment was the second largest of all those from former Soviet states besides Georgia and Ukraine deployed more soldiers to Iraq than many other NATO members such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Ukraine also suffered the fifth highest casualty toll during the war, with only Polish, Italian, British, and US forces suffering heavier losses.[72]

From 2003 to 2005 over 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers were deployed to Iraq, making up the third-largest contingent at the time. They were designated as the 5th Mechanised Brigade. Much as in Ukraine's mission to Kosovo, the troops deployed were contract soldiers and not conscripts. Ukraine began to severely draw down its troop levels in Iraq in 2005 due to mounting casualties and the political toxicity of the conflict. By 2005 only 876 soldiers, or roughly half of the original contingent were deployed, and by year’s end troop levels dropped to below 100. In 2008, one year before the official end of the US military mission, President Viktor Yushchenko ordered all remaining troops in Iraq to return home, marking an official end of Ukraine's mission.[73]


Between 2001 and 2021, Ukraine allowed US military cargo planes to fly over and refuel on Ukrainian soil on their way to Afghanistan. In 2007 Ukraine deployed a detachment of the 143rd De-Mining Centre of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to Afghanistan. Ukraine had kept a team of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan as part of the ISAF from 2007 to 2021, which mostly consisted of pilots, medical officers, and bomb disposal experts.[74]

Ukrainian pilots were responsible for training pilots of the Afghan Air Force on the operation of several aircraft as Afghan forces consisted of mostly Soviet designed aircraft such as the Mi-17, which Ukrainian troops were very familiar with. In 2013, the contingent of troops in Afghanistan totaled 26 troops. In 2014 the Ukrainian contingent was further drawn down and the team included 8 bomb disposal experts and several medical officers.[74]


Ukrainian forces have also been deployed to Kosovo since 2000 as part of the 600 man Polish–Ukrainian Peace Force Battalion. In August 2014, Ukraine ended its mission to Kosovo due to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[75]


Ukrainian peacekeeping forces have been deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sudan and South Sudan, and Cote d'Ivoire. Ukrainian forces have also been requested to take a more active role in the Northern Mali Conflict of 2012 in battling Islamic militants. One of the largest deployments is the 18th Separate Helicopter Unit of the Ukrainian Armed Forces which consisted of 160 servicemen and four Mi-24P helicopters and was deployed to the DRC in 2011.[76]

Military decorations

Main articles: Orders, decorations, and medals of Ukraine and Awards and decorations of the Ukrainian Armed Forces


Ukraine provides combat veterans with various benefits. Ukrainians who have served in World War II, the Soviet–Afghan War, or as liquidators at the Chernobyl disaster are eligible for benefits such as a monthly allowance, a discount on medical and pharmacy services, free use of public transportation, additional vacation days from work, having priority for retention in case of work layoffs, easier loan access and approval process, preference when applying for security related positions, priority when applying to vocation school or trade school, and electricity, gas, and housing subsidies. Veterans are also eligible to stay at military sanatoriums, provided there is available space.[77]

Since gaining independence, Ukraine has deployed troops to conflicts in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, which has created a new generation of veterans separate from those who served in the Soviet forces. Most recently the government passed a law extending veteran benefits to Ukrainian troops participating in the war in Donbas. Veterans from other nations who move to or reside in Ukraine may be eligible for some of the listed benefits. This provision was likely made to ensure that World War II, Chernobyl, and Afghanistan veterans from other Soviet states who moved to Ukraine received similar benefits. As Ukraine has participated in numerous NATO-led conflicts since its independence, it is unclear if NATO veterans would be extended these benefits.[77]

Veteran groups are not as developed as in the United States, which has numerous well known national organisations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars. World War II veterans, and even persons who have lived through the war are generally treated with the highest respect. Other veterans are not as well known. Ukrainian veterans from the Soviet war in Afghanistan are strikingly similar to the Vietnam veterans of the United States, although the Soviet Union generally kept the public in the dark throughout the war, unlike in Vietnam, where coverage was very high. Afghanistan is often labeled as a mistake by the Soviet Union and its successor states, but the lack of media coverage, and the censorship through the war have ensured that many still remain unaware of their nation's involvement in the conflict.[78] Despite Ukraine having had the 3rd largest contingent of troops in Iraq in 2004, few Ukrainians realize today that their nation also is home to many veterans of the Iraq War. Soldiers who took part in the war in Donbas can receive free land plots.[79] On 22 November 2018, the Ministry for Veterans Affairs was officially established.[80]

See also


  1. ^ According to the State Program of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reform and development to 2005, the ground forces were to have the biggest ratio of personnel of all services (up to 54%). This ratio was to be based on the missions assigned to the armed forces, and also on the fact that the economy of Ukraine could not support any larger troop numbers. However, the ground forces still has priority in the number of personnel, weapons, military equipment development priorities and the development of their future systems, which were to correspond to modern warfare requirements. The ground forces were planned to closely coordinate their assignments with other army branches, engaging appropriate military arts and equipment. They were to also be involved in law enforcement activities during emergencies, dealing with consequences of technological and natural disasters, providing military assistance to other countries, engaging in international military cooperation activities (UN), and participating in international peacekeeping operations according to international agreements.
  2. ^ It was reported on 27 July 2005 that '..[o]ver 70 per cent of planned work on [the] disbandment of the Ukrainian armed forces' Northern Operational Command has been completed,' according to the Defence Ministry's press service.[22]



  1. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (15 February 2023). The Military Balance 2023. London: Routledge. p. 201. ISBN 9781032508955.
  2. ^ Culture Smart! Ukraine by Anna Shevchenko, Kuperard, 2006, ISBN 978-1-85733-327-5
  3. ^ a b c d In the Army Now: Answering Many Why's Archived 2015-01-08 at the Wayback Machine, The Ukrainian Week (8 July 2014)
  4. ^ a b Ukraine must stop importing Russian weapons, switch to NATO standards Archived 2014-12-18 at the Wayback Machine, Interfax-Ukraine (18 December 2014)
  5. ^ Poroshenko says military hardware will bring Ukraine's victory closer Archived 2016-08-24 at the Wayback Machine, Interfax-Ukraine (24 August 2016)
  6. ^ Adam Taylor (3 March 2014). "Ukraine's military is far smaller than Russia's, but there are 3 reasons it might not be so easy to crush". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 22 November 2017. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  7. ^ a b Olga Rudenko (6 May 2014). "Thousands dodge Ukraine army in fight with rebels". USA Today. Archived from the original on 23 March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Полторак поставив сухопутні війська за приклад реформ в Україні". 13 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-03-01. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  9. ^ Ukrainian army composed of 75% contract servicemen - president Archived 2016-08-25 at the Wayback Machine, Interfax-Ukraine (24 August 2016)
  10. ^ Nagle, Chad (2014-12-08). "Ukrainian Army receives new tanks, APCs and other hardware". Sovereign Ukraine. Archived from the original on 2017-12-25. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  11. ^ a b c Kobasa, Askold I. (December 1995). A Strategic-Military Analysis of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Naval Postgraduate School. pp. 15-23. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  12. ^ Kobasa, Askold I. (December 1995). A Strategic-Military Analysis of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Naval Postgraduate School. pp. 52-53. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  13. ^ "The Ukrainian Military: From Degradation to Renewal - Foreign Policy Research Institute". Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  14. ^ ANALYSIS: Ukraine adopts program for military reform Archived 2005-11-18 at the Wayback Machine, 03/02/1997
  15. ^ See references at 6th Guards Tank Army and 6th Army Corps (Ukraine). On 1 December 1993, 8th Guards Tank Army became 8th Army Corps.
  16. ^ Jane's Sentinel: Ukraine, 1994
  17. ^ Yuriy Yurchnya, 'The Armed Forces of Ukraine,' DCAF, 2010, 89.
  18. ^ Andrew Duncan, 'Ukraine's forces find that change is good,' Jane's Intelligence Review, April 1997, 162–3.
  19. ^ Stephen D. Olynyk, Ukraine as a Post-Cold War Military Power Archived 2006-09-26 at the Wayback Machine, Joint Force Quarterly, Spring 1997, 93.
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2007-09-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) , page 4 of 136
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General sources

Further reading