Armed Forces of Ukraine

Armed Forces of Ukraine
Збройні сили України

Emblem of the Armed Forces

Flag of the Armed Forces
Founded 1917 (reconstituted December 6, 1991)[1]
Service branches Ground Forces
Air Force
Airmobile Forces
Special Operations Forces[2]
Headquarters Kiev
Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko[3]
Minister of Defence Stepan Poltorak[4]
Chief of Defense Viktor Muzhenko[4][5]
Military age 18[6]
Conscription 12 months (GF, AF)
18 months (Navy)
Available for
military service
11,149,646, age 16–49 (2015 est.[7])
Fit for
military service
6,970,035, age 16–49 (2015 est.[8])
Reaching military
age annually
200,000 (2015 est.[9])
Active personnel 250,000 (March 2016)[10]
Reserve personnel 85,000 (October 2016)[11]
Deployed personnel 60,000[12]
Budget $4.4 billion (2016)[13]
Percent of GDP 3% (2016)[13][14]
Domestic suppliers Ukroboronprom
Foreign suppliers  United States[15]
 United Kingdom[15]
 European Union[15]
Related articles
History Ukrainian–Soviet War
Polish–Ukrainian War
1992-94 Crimean crisis
Kosovo Force
Tuzla Island conflict
Iraq War
Operation Ocean Shield
Operation Atalanta
Pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine
Annexation of Crimea
War in Donbass
Ranks Military ranks of Ukraine
Military History of Ukraine
Kievan Rus'
Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
Zaporizhian Host
Ukrainian People's Republic
Free Territory
Ukrainian National Government
Ukrainian SSR

The Armed Forces of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Збройні сили України (ЗСУ) Zbroyni Syly Ukrayiny, (ZSU)) is the military of Ukraine. They are the principle deterrent force against any aggression that could be shown against the sovereign state of Ukraine. All military and security forces, including the Armed Forces of Ukraine are under the command of the President of Ukraine, and subject to oversight by a permanent Verkhovna Rada parliamentary commission.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are composed of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, the Ukrainian Navy, the Ukrainian Air Force, and the Ukrainian Airmobile Forces. Ukraine's naval forces maintain their own small Ukrainian Naval Infantry force as well as their own Ukrainian Naval Aviation force. The Ukrainian Sea Guard is the coast guard service of Ukraine, however it is part of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine and is not subordinate to the Navy. As a result of the Russian military intervention in Ukraine from 2014, the president commissioned governors of oblasts of Ukraine to create volunteer units under the government program "Territorial Defense". Initially these units received minimal funding coming from regional budgets and mostly relied on donations. In November 2014 most of the territorial battalions were integrated into Ukraine's Ground forces.

National Guard of Ukraine serves as the main reserve component of Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Due to the ongoing hostilities with the Russian Federation, Ukraine has greatly increased the size of its military forces to 204,000 soldiers (+46,000 civil servants) in 2014, not counting paramilitary forces such as the border guards (53,000), the new formed National Guard of Ukraine (60,000) or the security service.[16] Ukraine's armed forces came close to France, which maintained a 229,000 man force, as the largest in Europe when excluding Russia.[17] It was reported that Ukraine's military swelled to 280,000 personnel. This was largely achieved by the repeated waves of mobilization bringing in new recruits while older soldiers had not yet been processed out, the state budget for 2015 ultimately calls for a force of 230,000. Hryhoriy Pedchenko reported that 51% of Ukraine's enlisted personnel were contract soldiers.[18][19]

Military units of other states participate in multinational military exercises with Ukrainian forces in Ukraine regularly.[20] Many of these exercises are held under the NATO co-operation program Partnership for Peace.

Since 3 June 2016 women are allowed to serve in combat units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[21]


Creation of the Modern Ukrainian Military

The modern military in Ukraine was completely inherited from the Soviet Union, in which Ukraine was a member state. Like other Soviet republics, it did not possess its own separate military command, as all military formations were uniformly subordinated to the central command of the Armed Forces of the USSR. Administratively the Ukrainian SSR was divided into three military districts (the Carpathian Military District, Kiev Military District, and Odessa Military District) and most of the Black Sea Fleet naval bases were located on the coast of Ukraine.

As the collapse of the Soviet Union took place in 1991 (see Novo-Ogaryovo process), Ukraine inherited one of the most powerful force groupings in Europe. According to an associate of the Conflict Studies Research Centre, James Sherr: "This grouping, its inventory of equipment and its officer corps were designed for one purpose: to wage combined arms, coalition, offensive (and nuclear) warfare against NATO on an external front".[22] At that time, the former Soviet armed forces in the Ukrainian SSR included a rocket army (43rd Rocket Army), four air force armies, an air defense army (8th Air Defence Army), three regular armies, two tank armies, one army corps and the Black Sea Fleet.[23] Altogether the Armed Forces of Ukraine included about 780,000 personnel, 6,500 tanks, about 7,000 combat armored vehicles, 1,500 combat aircraft, and more than 350 ships.

On 26 February 1991 a parliamentary Standing Commission for Questions of Security and Defense was established. On August 24, 1991, the Ukrainian parliament (the Verkhovna Rada), in adopting the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, also enacted a short resolution "About military formations in Ukraine".[24] This took jurisdiction over all formations of the armed forces of the Soviet Union stationed on Ukrainian soil, and established one of the key agencies, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.[25] On 3 September 1991 the Ministry of Defence commenced its duties. On 22 October 1991 units and formations of the Soviet Armed Forces on Ukrainian soil were nationalized.[26] This was followed by two Laws of Ukraine that were adopted by the Supreme Council of Ukraine on December 6, 1991[27][28] and Presidential Ukase #4 "About Armed Forces of Ukraine" on December 12, 1991.[29] The government of Ukraine surrendered any rights of succession of the Soviet Strategic Deterrence Forces[30] (see Strategic Missile Troops) that were staged on the territory of Ukraine. Recognizing the complications of a smooth transition and seeking a consensus with other former members of the Soviet Union in dividing up their Soviet military inheritance, Ukraine joined ongoing talks that started in December 1991[31] regarding a joint military command of the Commonwealth of Independent States.[32]

Inherent in the process of creating a domestic military were political decisions by the Ukrainian leadership regarding the country's non-nuclear and international status. Among these was the definition, agreement and ratification of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) which not only established the maximum level of armament for each republic of the former USSR, but also a special ceiling for the so-called CFE "Flank Region". Included in this region were Ukraine's Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporizhia Oblasts, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Another key event in the creation of the Ukrainian military was the 1992 Tashkent Treaty, which laid out aspirations for a Commonwealth of Independent States military. This collective military proved impossible to develop because the former republics of the USSR all wished to go their own way, ripping the intricate Soviet military machine into pieces.

The country had observer status with the Non-Aligned Movement of nation states from 1996.[33] However, this status was repealed on 23 December 2014 by the Verkhovna Rada.[34]

Arms control and disarmament

Tu-22M is dismantled through assistance provided by the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program implemented by the DTRA, 2002

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited two divisions of the Strategic Rocket Forces' 43rd Rocket Army (HQ Vinnytsia): the 19th Rocket Division (Khmelnytskyi) (90 UR-100N/SS-19/RS-18) and the 46th Rocket Division at Pervomaisk, Mykolaiv Oblast, equipped with 40 SS-19 and 46 silo-mounted RT-23 Molodets/SS-24s.[35] While Ukraine had physical control of these systems, it did not have operational control. The use of the weapons was dependent on Russian-controlled electronic Permissive Action Links and the Russian command and control system.[36][37]

Ukraine voluntarily gave up these and all other nuclear weapons during the early 1990s. This was the first time in history that a country voluntarily gave up the use of strategic nuclear weapons, although the Republic of South Africa was dismantling its small tactical nuclear weapons program at about the same time.

Ukraine has plentiful amounts of highly enriched uranium, which the United States wanted to buy from the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology. Ukraine also has two uranium mining and processing factories, a heavy water plant and technology for determining the isotopic composition of fissionable materials. Ukraine has deposits of uranium that are among the world’s richest. In May 1992, Ukraine signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) in which the country agreed to give up all nuclear weapons and to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state. Ukraine ratified the treaty in 1994, and as of January 1, 1996, no military nuclear equipment or materials remain on Ukrainian territory.

On 13 May 1994, the United States and Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Transfer of Missile Equipment and Technology. This agreement committed Ukraine to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) by controlling exports of missile-related equipment and technology according to the MTCR Guidelines.

Other disarmament - strategic planes & other missiles

Ukraine and NATO estimate that 2.5 million tons of conventional ammunition was left in Ukraine as the Soviet military withdrew, as well as more than 7 million rifles, pistols, mortars and machine guns. The surplus weapons and ammunition were stored in over 180 military bases, including in bunkers, salt mines and in the open.[38] As of 2014, much of this surplus had not been scrapped.[39][40]

Attempt at Reforms and Constant Fund Shortages

Ukraine's first military reforms began on December 26, 1996, with the adoption of a new "State Program for the Building and Development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine". One of the aspects was to shrink the standard combat unit from division size to brigade size which would then fall under the command of one of the three newly created military district; the Western Operational Command, the Southern Operational Command, and the largest - the Northern Operational/Territorial Command.[41] Only Ukraine's 1st Airmobile Division was not downsized. This downsizing occurred purely for financial reasons with Ukrainian economy in recession this was a way to shrink the government (defense) expenditure and at the same time release hundreds of thousands of young people into the private sector to stimulate growth.[42] During this time Ukraine's military industrial complex also began to develop new indigenous weapons for the armed forces like: the T-84 tank, the BMP-1U, the BTR-3, KrAZ-6322, and the Antonov An-70. All these reforms where championed by Leonid Kuchma, the 2nd President of Ukraine, who wanted to retain a capable military and a functioning military industrial complex because he didn't trust Russia who he believed might one day become Ukraine's enemy, stating once "The threat of Russofication is a real concern for us".[43]

Kuchma was also eager to modernize the equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, however, after learning of the price tag of such a move, he backtracked, preferring to rely on the sizable Soviet supply of weapons which he made sure were well maintained. But the cancellation of the modernization program left a question of how to provide jobs in the military industrial complex which then comprised double digit percentage of the GDP. Export of new and modernized weapons on the world's arms markets was settled on as the best option, where Ukraine both tried to undercut the contracts of the Russian arms industry - offering the same service for a cheaper price, and was willing to sell equipment to whom ever was willing to pay (more than once to politically unstable or even aggressive regimes), causing negative reactions from both Western Europe and the United States federal government.[44] During this time 320 T-80 tanks would be sold to Pakistan, and an unfinished Soviet aircraft carrier the Varyag which today is known as the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.[45]

Though the military was well equipped it still experienced lack of funds particularly for training and exercises, which led to a number of incidents with one notable one being the Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 of 2001 the other Sknyliv airshow disaster of 2002. Still the Armed Forces effectiveness was demonstrated during the Tuzla Island Conflict - when (brief description). In 2003 Ukraine completed its first set of reforms which were judged largely successful, with the personnel numbers stabilizing at 295,000 of which 90,000 were civilian contractors.[46]

1) downsizing further 2) training 3) maintenance and new equipment 4) NATO and Russia 5) 2008 financial crisis

1) appointment of Russian citizens to ministry of defense and intelligence 2) downsizing 3) lack of funds for exercise, vehicle maintenance, and even monthly paychecks 4) scrapping and sale of equipment 5) incompetence in, and destruction of the military industrial complex

Ukrainian military tactics and organization are heavily dependent on Cold War tactics and former Soviet Armed Forces organization. Under former President Yushchenko, Ukraine pursued a policy of independence from Russian dominance, and thus tried to fully integrate with the West, specifically NATO.

Until the Euromaidan crisis of 2014, Ukraine retained tight military relations with Russia, inherited from their common Soviet history. Common use of naval bases in Crimea and joint air defense efforts were the most intense cooperative efforts. This cooperation was a permanent irritant in bilateral relations, but Ukraine appeared economically dependent on Moscow, and thus unable to break such ties quickly. After the election of President Victor Yanukovych, ties between Moscow and Kyiv warmed, and those between Kyiv and NATO cooled, relative to the Yushchenko years.

Conflict in southeastern Ukraine (2014 - present)

Main articles: 2014 Crimean crisis and Donbass War

In March 2014, after the Crimean crisis began, it was announced by the reformist government that a new military service, the National Guard of Ukraine would be created. Previously a National Guard had existed up until 2000, thus the 2014 NG is a reformation of the one raised in 1991, but this time formed partially of personnel from the Internal Troops of Ukraine.

In May 2014 with hybrid war happening in eastern regions, a helicopter with 14 soldiers on board including General Serhiy Kulchytskiy, who headed combat and special training for the country's National Guard, was brought down by militants near Sloviansk in East Ukraine. Outgoing President Olexander Turchynov described the downing as a "terrorist attack," and blamed pro-Russian militants.[48]

In late July 2015, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry revealed new Ukrainian Armed Forces uniform designs, later a revised rank insignia system was created.[49] These made their national debut in the August 24, 2016 National Independence Day Silver Jubilee parade in Independence Square, Kiev.

Ukraine & NATO Membership

Ukraine's stated national policy is Euro-Atlantic integration, with the European Union. Ukraine has a "Distinctive Partnership" with NATO (see Enlargement of NATO) and has been an active participant in Partnership for Peace exercises and in peacekeeping in the Balkans. This close relationship with NATO has been most apparent in Ukrainian cooperation and combined peacekeeping operations with its neighbor Poland in Kosovo. Ukrainian servicemen also serve under NATO command in Iraq, Afghanistan and in Operation Active Endeavour.[50] Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych considered the level of co-operation between Ukraine and NATO sufficient.[51] His predecessor Viktor Yushchenko had asked for Ukrainian membership by early 2008.[52][53] During the 2008 Bucharest summit NATO declared that Ukraine will become a member of NATO whenever it wants and when it meets the criteria for accession.[51] Former Ukrainian President Yanukovych opted to keep Ukraine a non-aligned state. This materialized on June 3, 2010 when the Ukrainian parliament excluded, with 226 votes, the goal of "integration into Euro-Atlantic security and NATO membership" from the country's national security strategy.[54] Amid the Euromaidan unrest, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014.[55]

The interim Yatsenyuk Government which came to power, initially said, with reference to the country's non-aligned status, that it had no plans to join NATO.[56] However, following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government made joining NATO a priority.[57] On 23 December 2014, the Ukrainian parliament renounced Ukraine's non-aligned status[55][58] that "proved to be ineffective in guaranteeing Ukraine's security and protecting the country from external aggression and pressure".[59] The Ukrainian military is since transforming to NATO standards.[60] Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated early February 2016 "de-facto the Ukrainian Armed Forces must become NATO members".[60]


In late 2010 the total personnel (including 41,000 civilian workers) was 200,000.[61] Conscription was ended in October 2013;[62] at that time the Ukrainian armed forces were made up of 40% conscripts and 60% contract soldiers.[62] In April 2014 acting President Oleksandr Turchynov reinstated conscription in May 2014.[63]

Ukraine has 130,000 personnel in its armed forces that could be boosted to about one million with reservists.[63]

There is a reported total of 250,800 personnel in the Armed Forces in 2015.[64]

Ukraine maintains a number of Guards units, tracing their traditions to the Soviet Armed Forces. A list can be seen at List of guards units of Ukraine. There were reports in 2015 that all Guards units had been either disbanded or reformed to regular units, this was proven false as all their Soviet decorations were removed from their titles and regimental colours by 15 November the same year. Only one brigade, the 51st, a former Guards unit, had been dissolved the year before.

Chief of the General Staff

The Chief of the General Staff oversees the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Ground Forces

As of 2009, there were a reported 204,000 personnel in the Ukrainian Ground Forces.[65] The Ukrainian Ground Forces are divided into Armoured and Mechanized Forces, Airmobile Forces, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence and Rocket and Artillery Troops. There are 13 mechanized brigades and two mountain warfare brigades in the Mechanized Forces. Ukraine also has two armoured brigades. There are seven rocket and artillery brigades as well as five airmobile brigades. Until 2013, the Ground Forces were divided into three army corps. These were disbanded in 2013 and reorganized as Operation Command West, Operation Command North and Operation Command South. Operation Command East was formed in 2015 to coordinate forces in the War in Donbass.

Ukrainian Su-25UB

Ukrainian Air Force

In 2009, the Ukrainian Air Force was reported to have included 36,300 personnel.[65]

Ukrainian Navy

According to an August 2015 Kyiv Post report, the Ukrainian Navy consisted of 6,500 personnel.[66]

Special Forces

Ukraine's special forces are reported as 4,000 strong.[2]

Personnel and conscription

The Soviet Union required all able-bodied male citizens to serve two years in the armed forces (three years if drafted into the navy), although the draft could be postponed due to continued higher education. It was possible to be drafted into non Ministry of Defense military forces such as the KGB Border Guards, the Militsiya, or the Internal Troops. When Ukraine gained its independence it retained the policy of conscription, although the time in service was reduced to 18 months in the navy and one year in all other services. Ukraine also gradually began recruiting professional soldiers, although in almost all cases a person had to serve as a conscript prior to becoming a professional soldier. The Ukrainian Naval Infantry was the first service to convert to being staffed by fully professional marines.

In October 2013 President Yanukovich ended conscription in Ukraine, at the time 60% of Ukraine's forces were composed of professional soldiers.[67] However, due to the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine conscription, as well as a partial mobilization, was reinstated in 2014.[68] Ukraine has modified the age group of males eligible for conscription for 2015 from 18-25 to the 20-27 age group.[69]

After serving out the term of service Ukraine's conscripts become part of the inactive reserve and are eligible to be recalled for mobilization until they reach age 55, age 60 for officers. Due to the War in Donbass Ukraine has instated a partial mobilization to fill needed positions in its armed forces, recalling conscripts who have served before, because of the war many conscripts have also been forced to serve longer than their original 18-month term of service.[70] It was planned that in 2015 Ukraine would undergo three waves of partial mobilization, this would have allowed new troops to replace those serving longer than their original term of service.[71] A concept of a Territorial Defense Battalion of Ukraine was formed from local volunteers forming their own units to defend their cities from possible Russian attack. Under Ukrainian law each oblast is allowed to form its own defense unit. These battalions were initially highly autonomous units, however as of November 2014 they have been incorporated into the National Guard of Ukraine.[72]

Due to the reintroduction of conscription, and partial mobilization, Ukraine's armed forces is expected to nearly double from approximately 130,000 personnel in December 2014 to approximately 250,000 personnel in 2015.

All medical workers in Ukraine, regardless of gender, are eligible to be called up for service in case of a national emergency.

Draft dodging is present in Ukraine as with most nations that utilize the draft. It was reported that between April and August 2014, over 1,000 criminal inquires into draft evasion were opened in Ukraine.[73] Draft evasion can be problematic because unless a male citizen was unable to serve for medical reasons, an application to receive an international passport of Ukraine may be denied due to a lack of military service, thus preventing the individual from traveling abroad.[74]

Conscripts are not deployed in the so called "ATO"-operations in the east of Ukraine.[75]

Paramilitary Forces

Ukraine's Armed Forces outside the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense consist of:

Although not components of the Armed Forces, these militarized institutions are supposed to come under the Armed Forces' command during wartime.

Role of women

On 3 June 2016, Defense Ministry’s Order No. 292 allowed women to serve in combat units.[21]

According to Defense Ministry figures early June 2016 some 49,500 women served in and worked in the Ukrainian military; more than 17,000 were military servicewomen, of which more than 2,000 officers.[21] Women have also joined the various volunteer Territorial defense battalions before the order for women's integration in the armed forces was enacted.[21] Women are eligible to be drafted into the military as officers.[80] In 2009 women comprised almost 13% of the armed forces (18,000 personnel) but with few females holding high rank (2.9% or 1,202 women).[81] Contractual military service accounted for almost 44% of women. However, this being closely linked to the low salary of such positions: men refuse to serve in these conditions while women accept them.[81]

Nadiya Savchenko is perhaps one of the most well known female Ukrainian soldiers and was held as a prisoner in Russia from July 2014 until May 2016.[82]

(According to President Petro Poroshenko) in October 2016 about ten thousand women served in combat units.[83]


A number of universities have specialized military institutes, such as the Faculty of Military Legal Studies at Kharkiv's National Yaroslav Mudryi Law Academy of Ukraine. The primary Ukrainian military academies are:

In addition the National Defense University of Ukraine "Ivan Chernyakhovsky" (uk:Національний університет оборони України) is in Kiev.[84]

The Chief Military Clinic Hospital is located in Kiev.[85]

The armed forces' military high school is located in Kiev - the Ivan Bohun Military High School.

Recent operations

Members of the Ukrainian Army’s 19th Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Battalion in Iraq.

Ukraine has been playing an increasingly larger role in peacekeeping operations. Since 1992, over 30,000 soldiers have taken part in missions in the former Yugoslavia (IFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNPROFOR and UNTAES in Croatia, KFor in Kosovo), the Middle East (Southern Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq), and Africa (Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia).[86]

Since 1997, Ukraine has been working closely with NATO and especially with Poland. A Ukrainian unit was deployed as part of the multinational force in Iraq under Polish command. Ukrainian troops are also deployed as part of the Ukrainian-Polish Battalion (UKRPOLBAT) in Kosovo. The total Ukrainian military deployment around the world as of 1 August 2009 was 540 servicemen participating in 8 peacekeeping missions.[86]

The first battle of a regular formation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces happened on April 6, 2004 in Kut, Iraq, when the Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent was attacked by militants of the Mahdi Army. The Ukrainians took fire, and over several hours held the objectives they had been assigned to secure.[87]

Ukrainian troops ride alongside US Marines in Iraq

Ukrainian troops as part of the former Soviet Armed Forces contingent participated in UNPROFOR in 1992, and in the summer of that year were involved into the civil war in Yugoslavia. On July 3, 1992 the Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution committing the Ukrainian Armed Forces to UN peacekeeping missions. The Minister of Defense, Kostyantyn Morozov, ordered the creation of the 240th Separate Special Battalion (UKRBAT-1) which was based on the 93rd Guard Motor-Rifle Division (now the 93rd Mechanized Infantry Division). Soon after arrival in Sarajevo on July 31, 1992, the battalion's artillery complex ended up in the middle of a mutual mortar fight between the Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. One of the Serbian shells hit the Ukrainian position, seriously wounding seven soldiers, one of whom died after hospitalization in Germany.

Since gaining independence Ukraine has deployed troops to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, as well as dedicating peacekeepers to UN missions to Africa. Ukrainian naval units also participated in anti piracy operations off the coast of Somalia prior to being recalled due to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[88]

On 19 January 2015 Ukraine's 18th separate helicopter detachment along with other MONUSCO troops carried out a successful operation eliminating 2 camps belonging to illegal armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[89]

Deployment outside Ukraine

2014 Crimean crisis

Main article: 2014 Crimean crisis

On 2 March 2014, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were placed on full alert following a Russian military intervention in the Crimea.[95]

On 19 March 2014, Ukraine are drawing plans to withdraw all their soldiers and their families to mainland "Quickly and Efficiently".[96]


Defense expenditures amount to $4.4B in 2016, or 5% of the GDP.[13][14] This is a 23% increase from 2013 and 65% from 2005.[13] From the total, 60% will be spent on defence and 40% on security and policing.[13] 2016 also saw a 30% increase in weapons development spending.[97] In 2012 Ukraine's defense budget was 0.07% of GDP.[98]

2016: 4.4 B

2013: 3.6 B

2005: 2.7 B

Military holidays

These are the military holidays observed by all service personnel the Ukrainian Armed Forces.[99]


Ukraine provides combat veterans with various benefits. Ukrainians who have served in WWII, 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 responding to the War in Donbass. 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 WWII, 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.[105]

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.[106] 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.

Due to the ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists another generation of veterans appeared in Ukraine. These veterans would be eligible for the same benefits as all others. However, as there was no official declaration of war it was difficult to determine the cut-off date for veteran benefits, leaving many that participated at the beginning of the conflict without benefits. At first Ukraine only gave benefits posthumously to family members as there was no legal framework to account for the veterans, moreover members of territorial defense battalions were not eligible for benefits at all. In August a law was passed granting all service members participating in Ukraine's Anti Terror Operation the status of veterans, five months after first hostilities broke out in Crimea, the territorial defense battalions were integrated into the National Guard making them part of Ukraine's forces thus allowing their volunteers to receive veteran status.[107][108]

Veterans of the so called "ATO"-operations in Donbas are eligible for receiving apartments (if staying in active duty) or a land plot for building purposes of 1000 the district of their registration.

Military Industrial Complex

Main article: Ukroboronprom

Ukraine received about 30% of the Soviet military industry, which included between 50 and 60 percent of all Ukrainian enterprises, employing 40% of its working population. Ukraine was, and still remains, a leader in missile-related technology,[109] navigation electronics for combat vessels and submarines, guidance systems, and radar for military jets.


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