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Ukraine Military - 2024


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Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU; Zbroyni Syly Ukrayiny or ZSU): Ground Forces (Sukhoputni Viys’ka), Naval Forces (Viys’kovo-Mors’ki Syly, VMS), Air Forces (Povitryani Syly, PS), Air Assault Forces (Desantno-shturmovi Viyska, DShV), Ukrainian Special Operations Forces (UASOF), Territorial Defense Forces (Reserves)

Ministry of Internal Affairs: National Guard of Ukraine, State Border Guard Service of Ukraine (includes Maritime Border Guard or Sea Guard) (2023)

note 1: in the event that martial law is declared, all National Guard units, with certain exceptions such as those tasked with providing for diplomatic security of embassies and consulates, would come under the command of the Ministry of Defense as auxiliary forces to the Armed Forces

note 2: the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) were formally established in July 2021; the TDF evolved from former Territorial Defense Battalions and other volunteer militia and paramilitary units that were organized in 2014-2015 to fight Russian-backed separatists in the Donbas; in January 2022, the TDF was activated as a separate military branch; it is organized into 25 brigades of varying size representing each of the 24 oblasts, plus the city of Kyiv

Military expenditures

4% of GDP (2021 est.)
4% of GDP (2020 est.)
3.4% of GDP (2019 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2018 est.)
3.1% of GDP (2017 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

at least 700,000 under arms, including the Armed Forces, Territorial Defense Forces, National Guard, and State Border Guard (2022)

note 1: following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, President ZELENSKY announced a general mobilization of the country; prior to the invasion, approximately 200,000 active Armed Forces troops (125,000 Army; 25,000 Airborne/Air Assault Forces; 2,000 Special Operations Forces; 10,000 Navy; 40,000 Air Force); approximately 50,000 National Guard; approximately 40,000 State Border Guard

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Ukrainian military is equipped largely with Russian-origin and Soviet-era weapons systems, although it has a growing inventory of Western-origin equipment; since the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, it has received considerable quantities of weapons, including Soviet-era and more modern Western systems, from European countries and the US; Ukraine has a broad defense industry capable of building, maintaining, and upgrading a variety of its Russian/Soviet-era weapons systems, including armored vehicles, combat aircraft, missiles, and air defense systems (2023)

Military service age and obligation

conscription abolished in 2012, but reintroduced in 2014; 20-27 years of age for compulsory military service; prior to the Russian invasion of February 2022, conscript service obligation was 12-18 months, depending on the service (2023)

note 1: following the Russian invasion in 2022, all nonexempt men ages 18 to 60 were required to register with their local recruitment offices and undergo medical screening for possible service; the Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) accepts volunteers, 18-60 years of age; since the invasion, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have volunteered for the regular armed forces, the TDF, or to work in civilian defense activities 

note 2: women have been able to volunteer for military service since 1993; as of 2023, approximately 60,000 women were serving in the armed forces 

note 3: since 2015, the Ukrainian military has allowed foreigners and stateless persons, 18-45 (in special cases up to 60), to join on 3-5-year contracts, based on qualifications; following the Russian invasion in 2022, the military began accepting medically fit foreign volunteers on a larger scale, with an emphasis on persons with combat experience; wartime volunteers typically serve for 6 months

Military deployments

note: prior to the Russian invasion in 2022, Ukraine had committed about 500 troops to the Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine joint military brigade (LITPOLUKRBRIG), which was established in 2014; the brigade is headquartered in Poland and is comprised of an international staff, three battalions, and specialized units; units affiliated with the multinational brigade remain within the structures of the armed forces of their respective countries until the brigade is activated for participation in an international operation

Military - note

the primary focus of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) is defense against Russian aggression; in February 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in what is the largest conflict in Europe since the end of World War II in 1945; as of 2023, the front line of the fighting stretched about 1,000 kilometers (some 600 miles) north and south in eastern and southern Ukraine; Russia’s forces have also launched missile and armed drone strikes throughout Ukraine, hitting critical infrastructure, including power, water, and heating facilities, as well as other civilian targets; Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, occupying Ukraine’s province of Crimea and backing separatist forces in the Donbas region with arms, equipment, and training, as well as special operations forces and troops, although Moscow denied their presence prior to 2022; the UAF has received considerable outside military assistance since the Russian invasion, including equipment and training, chiefly from Europe and the US 

Ukraine has a relationship with NATO dating back to the early 1990s, when Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (1991) and the Partnership for Peace program (1994); the relationship intensified in the wake of the 2014 Russia-Ukraine conflict and Russian seizure of Crimea to include NATO support for Ukrainian military capabilities development and capacity-building; NATO further increased its support to the Ukrainian military following Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022

the UAF Ground Forces have air defense, armored, artillery, aviation, infantry, mechanized, motorized, and rocket forces; the basic structure of the Ground Forces and the Territorial Defense Forces is the brigade; there are also regionally based (east, north, south, west) Operational Commands and a handful of corps-level commands; the combat brigades are assigned amongst the commands and corps based on operational requirements; the separate Air Assault Forces and Special Operations Forces are organized into brigades and regiments and considered the UAF’s elite units; prior to the 2022 Russian invasion, the UAF Air Force had over 100 combat aircraft, as well as ground-based air defenses, typically organized into brigades under regional commands; the Navy is a coastal defense force and includes naval infantry brigades that have been used as ground forces in the war with Russia (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Ukraine on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Ukraine 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Ukraine 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.