|Ukrainian Ground Forces
Сухопутні Війська України
Emblem of the Ukrainian Ground Forces
1919–192212 December 1991–present
|Size||260,000 Active personnel (2016)
80,000 Reserve (2016)
|Anniversaries||"Army Day (12 December, anniversary of the 1991 formation of the Ground Forces).|
|Engagements||"Kosovo Force (KFOR)
"War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
"2014 Russian invasion of Crimea
"War in Donbass
|"Lieutenant General Serhiy Popko|
|Ground Forces Ensign||""|
|Flag of Ukraine||""|
The Ukrainian Ground Forces ("Ukrainian: Сухопутні Війська ЗСУ, Sukhoputni Viys’ka ZSU) are the land force component of the "Armed Forces of Ukraine. They were formed from "Soviet Ground Forces formations, units, and establishments, including three "military districts (the "Kiev, "Carpathian, and "Odessa Military Districts), that were on Ukrainian soil when the "Soviet Union collapsed in 1990–92.
Since "Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 Ukraine retained its Soviet-era army equipment and have not replaced nor upgraded it. Also the Armed Forces have been systematically downsized since 1991 and as a result it was largely dilapidated in July 2014. Since the start of the "War in Donbass in April 2014 in "eastern Ukraine Ukraine is upgrading its Armed Forces. Its size of 129,950 in March 2014 had grown to 204,000 active personnel in May 2015. In 2016 75% of the army consisted of contract servicemen.
Prior to the "October Revolution of 1917, three separate self-governing Ukrainian states existed on what is Ukraine today. Each of these states possessed armed forces. The largest of these, the "Ukrainian People's Republic, itself comprised three separate regimes. The "Ukrainian People's Army is an example of one of the early national armed forces. Other armed independence movements existed in the wake of both the "First World War and the "Second World War, and these armies each had distinct organisation and uniforms. These armed forces, and the independent Ukrainian homeland for which they fought, were eventually incorporated into the neighboring states of "Poland, "Soviet Union, "Hungary, "Romania and "Czechoslovakia.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine included approximately 780,000 personnel, 7,000 "armored vehicles, 6,500 tanks, and 2,500 "tactical nuclear missiles when they were established. However, the problem that Ukraine face was that while it had vast armed forces, it lacked a proper command structure. Therefore, on 24 August 1991, the "Verkhovna Rada of "Ukraine ratified the resolution of taking under its control, all military units of former Soviet Armed Forces, situated on the territory of Ukraine; and in turn the establishment of the "Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.
Following the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, Ukraine inherited the "1st Guards Army, "13th Army, "38th Army, two tank armies (the "6th Guards Tank Army and the 8th Tank Army), and the 32nd Army Corps (32-й Кенигсберский армейский корпус) at "Simferopol. In addition, the "28th Guards Motor Rifle Division (MRD) and the 180th MRD 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 "Kiev Military District disbanded, and Ukraine used its structures as the basis for the Ministry of Defence and the "General Staff. Between June and August 1993, the first redesignation of armies to army corps appears to have taken place. While the chief of ground forces post 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. 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.
The creation of the Ground Forces as a separate armed service was legally only put in train by Presidential Decree 368/96 of 23 May 1996, 'On the Ground Forces of Ukraine.' 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 the Western Operational Command.
From 1992 to 1997, the forces of the Kiev MD were transferred to the Odessa MD, and the Odessa MD's headquarters moved to "Donetsk. A new 2nd Army Corps was formed in the Odessa 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.
President "Leonid Kuchma revealed in a December 1996 speech 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."
According to a plan promulgated in 2000 the Ground Forces were to reduce the number of troops from the then 300,000 to 240,000 by 2015, and an ultimate change from a partial "conscript-based force to a fully professional military. Even though the Armed Forces received little more than half of the "Hr 68 million it was promised for reform in 2001, officials were able to disband nine "regiments and close 21 local military bases.[nb 1]
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. The "defence industry in Ukraine produced equipment was not used to equip the Armed Forces prior to the "War in Donbass (that started in April 2014) but it produced only for export.
In the aftermath of the "2014 Ukrainian Revolution, Russian special forces in unmarked uniforms began surrounding Ukrainian military bases on the Crimea before capturing them individually using a mixture of attrition and threats. 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. By the end of March, all remaining Ukrainian troops were ordered to pull out of Crimea. 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. (According to February 2016 official Ukrainian figures) after "Russia's annexation 6.000 of the pre-annexation 20.300 people strong Ukrainian army personnel left Crimea.
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Training in 2006 was aimed at developing mobility and combat readiness of the forces. The Ukrainian armed forces took advantage of the opportunities provided by "UN exercises and exercises where Ukraine and "NATO nations and other partners participated.
Training resulted in 6,000 combat-ready troops in the spring of 2014 of Ukraine's (then) 129,950 active military personnel. In 2016 the Ukrainian army had more than 200,000 combat-ready soldiers of its 260,000 active personnel.
In 2015 Ukraine, the "United States, the "United Kingdom and "Canada established the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine (JMTG-U) and they set up three new training sites, in "Khmelnytskyi, "Yavoriv and "Kamianets-Podilskyi.
In 2007 the system of exercise/training ranges was optimized, decreasing their number and providing a specialized role.
Schooling Occurs at:
While Training Ranges are:
Mechanised Infantry and armoured forces are the primary components of the Ukrainian Ground Forces. Their primary objectives in case of war are capturing and holding targets, maintaining positions, defending against attack, penetrating enemy lines and defeating enemy forces.
The mechanised and armoured forces are equipped with "T-64 and "T-64BM "Bulat" main battle tanks; "BTR-4, "BTR-60, "BTR-70 and "BTR-80, wheeled armored personnel carriers and "BMP-1, "BMP-2 and "BMD-2 infantry combat vehicles.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, a large number of the previous Soviet mechanised formations on Ukrainian soil have been disbanded – the "IISS says totals have dropped from 14 divisions, in 1992, to two divisions, six brigades, and one independent regiment in 2008. Today, all mechanised and armoured formations are called "brigades.
The Ukrainian Ground Forces also include two mountain infantry brigades.
The Army Air Defence units are responsible for covering troops against enemy air attacks anywhere on the battlefield, and while in combat. The Ukrainian Ground Forces army air defence branch is equipped with a variety of effective "surface-to-air missile systems of division level and "anti-aircraft missile and "artillery complexes of "regiment level. Regiment 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 division level are characterized by their long range and firepower and are equipped with surface-to-air missile complexes;S-300V,Osa, Buk, Buk-M1 and Tor. While anti-aircraft missile and artillery complexes that are of regiment level are equipped with the Tunguska-M1, Igla "MANPADS system, Strela, and Shilka anti-aircraft missile systems. While the army's only separate radar system, meaning it isn't a part of any anti-aircraft system, is the Ukrainian "Kolchuga-M. It was designed sometime between the years 1993–1997, the system is said to be one of the most (if not the most) advanced passive sensors in the world, as it was claimed to be able to detect stealth aircraft.
The 4th Army Corps of the Reserve ("Ukrainian: 4-й армійський корпус резерву) is a new formation, directly subordinated to the General Staff. It is also called the Strategic Reserve Army Corps. Its main function is to prepare and administer the reservists of the ground forces. According to plans it should be fully operational by 2020 with reserve servicemen in three separate categories:
In the new uniforms the Ukrainian Army unveiled in August 2016 the stars that traditionally adorn shoulder straps have been replaced by diamonds. A new set of insignia are being adopted.
|OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||"OF(D) & Student officer|
|"General of the army of Ukraine
(Генерал армії України)
|"Chief Master Sergeant
|"Sergeant First Class
|"Private First Class
The Ukrainian Army unveiled its new uniforms on 24 August 2016 ("Independence Day of Ukraine). The new uniforms are modeled on British military styles. They also incorporate details from the uniforms worn by the "Ukrainian People's Army. The new cap includes an insignia of a "Ukrainian Cossack grasping a cross.
Ukraine deployed a sizable contingent of troops to the "Iraq War, these were stationed near "Kut. Ukraine's troop deployment was the second largest of all former Soviet states besides "Georgia and they deployed more soldiers to the nation then many members of "NATO such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Ukraine also suffered the fifth highest casualty toll during the war, with only Polish, Italian, UK, and US forces suffering heavier losses.
From 2003-2005 over 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers were deployed to Iraq, the third largest contingent at the time, they were designated to the "5th Mechanized Brigade (Ukraine), 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, roughly half of the original contingent were deployed, by years 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 deployed to Iraq returned home and Ukraine's mission to the nation officially over.
Since 2001 Ukraine allowed United States 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 Center of the "Armed Forces of Ukraine to Afghanistan. Ukraine has kept a team of soldiers deployed to Afghanistan as part of ISAF since 2007, these mostly consisted of pilots, medical officers, and bomb disposal experts. Ukrainian pilots were responsible for training the pilots of the Afghan Air Force on the operation of several air craft as Afghanistan's forces consisted of many Soviet designed aircraft such as the "Mi-17 with which Ukrainian troops were very familiar with. In 2013 the contingent of troops in Afghanistan totaled 26 troops. As of 2014 the Ukrainian contingent was further drawn down and the team included 8 bomb disposal experts and several medical officers.
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.
Ukrainian peacekeeping forces have been deployed to the "Democratic Republic of 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 forces. One of the largest deployments is the 18th Separate Helicopter Unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine which consisted of 160 servicemen and four "Mi-24P helicopters and was deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011.
Ukraine provides combat veterans with various benefits. Ukrainians who have served in World War II, "Soviet war in Afghanistan, or as liquidators at the "Chernobyl disaster are eligible for benefits such as; a monthly allowance, 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 permitting there is space. Since gaining independence Ukraine has deployed troops to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan gaining a new generation of veterans separate from those who have served in the Soviet forces. Most recently the government passed a law extending veteran benefits to Ukrainian troops participating in the "2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, 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 World War II, Chernobyl, and Afghanistan veterans from other Soviet states who moved to Ukraine received similar benefits, however as Ukraine has participated in numerous NATO led conflicts since its independence it is unclear if NATO veterans would be extended these benefits.
Veteran groups are not as developed as in the United States which has numerous well known national organizations 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 of Afghanistan are strikingly similar to the Vietnam veterans of the United States. The Soviet Union generally kept the public in the dark through 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, the lack of media coverage and censorship through the war also ensured that many still remain unaware of their nations involvement in the conflict. Despite Ukraine having the 3rd largest contingent of troops in Iraq in 2004 few also realize that their nation has many veterans of the Iraq war.