Ukrainian Ground Forces

The Ukrainian Ground Forces (Ukrainian: Сухопутні Війська ЗСУ Sukhoputni Viiska [ZSU]), also known as the Ukrainian Army, are the land forces of Ukraine and one of the five branches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. They were formed from Soviet Ground Forces formations, units, and establishments, including three military districts (the Kyiv, Carpathian, and Odesa Military Districts), that were on Ukrainian soil when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Ukrainian Ground Forces
Сухопутні Війська України
Emblem of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.svg
Emblem of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, containing the tryzub and cossack cross
Country Ukraine
RoleGround warfare
Size125,600 (2022)[1]
Part ofArmed Forces of Ukraine
AnniversariesArmy Day
(6 December)[2]
CommanderLieutenant General Oleksandr Syrskyi
EnsignEnsign of Ukrainian Ground Forces
Cap badgeБЗ СВ.svg
Shoulder sleeve insigniaНЗ СВ.svg

After Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine retained its Soviet-era army equipment. The Armed Forces were systematically downsized after 1991 and as a result, it was largely dilapidated by July 2014.[3] Since the start of the war in Donbas in April 2014 in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine embarked on a program to enlarge and modernize its Armed Forces.[3][4][5] Its size of 129,950 in March 2014[6] had grown to 204,000 active personnel in May 2015,[7] with the Ground Forces branch having 169,000 soldiers as of 2016.[8][needs update] In 2016, 75% of the army consisted of contract servicemen.[9][needs update] Ukraine's ground forces have also received more modern tanks, APCs, and many other types of combat equipment.[10]


Armed Forces of Ukraine
Main branches
  Ground Forces
  Air Force
  Airmobile Forces
  Special Operations Forces
Other Corps
  National Guard
  Naval Infantry
  State Border Guard Service
  Territorial Defense Forces
Related Services
  Ministry of Defence
  General Staff
  Ministry of Internal Affairs
  National Space Agency
  Security Service
  Foreign Intelligence Service
  Military Intelligence Service
History of the Ukrainian Military
History of Ukraine
History of Ukraine during WWII
History of Ukraine during WWI

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.[11]

Ukrainian soldiers in a military exercise in 1998

Collapse of the USSREdit

Upon their establishment in 1991, the Armed Forces of Ukraine included approximately 780,000 personnel,[12] 7,000 armored vehicles, 6,500 tanks, and 2,500 tactical nuclear missiles. A problem that Ukraine faced was that while it had vast armed forces, it lacked a proper command structure. On 24 August 1991, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ratified a resolution taking control of all military units of the former Soviet Armed Forces situated on the territory of Ukraine. This established the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Army Soldier in Iraq, 2003

Creation of the Ground ForcesEdit

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 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 disbanded, and Ukraine used its structures as the basis for the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff.[13]

Between June and August 1993, the first redesignation of armies to army corps appears to have taken place.[14] 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.[15] 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 enacted by Presidential Decree 368/96 of 23 May 1996, 'On the Ground Forces of Ukraine.'[16] 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.

Ukrainian and U.S Army soldiers talk during the 2011 Rapid Trident exercise.

From 1992 to 1997, the forces of the Kyiv MD were transferred to the Odessa MD, and the Odessa MD's headquarters moved to Donetsk.[17] 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."[18]


Under 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.[19] 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.[20][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.[22][3]

Ukrainian Ground Forces in 2013, before the Crimean crisis

Russian occupation of CrimeaEdit

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.[23] 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.[24] The takeover of Crimeia was largely bloodless, as the Ukrainian soldiers didn't retaliate.[25] By the end of March, all remaining Ukrainian troops were ordered to pull out of Crimea.[26]

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.[27] 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.[28][29]

Ukrainian soldiers during the War in Donbas

Russo-Ukrainian WarEdit

War in Donbas (2014–2022)Edit

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.[30][31]

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 official Ukrainian army.[32]

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 on both sides of the contact line.[33] 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.[33]

Russian full invasionEdit

On 24 February 2022, Russia begun its full-scale invasion of Ukraine[34] and the Ground Forces have been participants of most of the land combat actions of the current war. The influx of Western materiel and supplies to this branch before and during the conflict as well as mobilization efforts have also resulted in a massive expansion of the force at large in addition to ongoing force modernization.

Military training and education centersEdit

Ukrainian special forces soldiers during an exercise
A Ukrainian 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.[35] The Ukrainian armed forces took advantage of the opportunities provided by UN exercises and exercises where Ukraine and NATO nations and other partners participated.[35][36]

Training resulted in 6,000 combat-ready troops in the spring of 2014 of Ukraine's (then) 129,950 active military personnel.[27][37] In 2016 the Ukrainian army had more than 200,000 combat-ready soldiers of its 260,000 active personnel.[7][38]

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, Kamianets-Podilskyi, and Yavoriv.[38] The latter, known as the International Center for Peacekeeping and Security or the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, was hit by eight Russian missiles in March 2022.[39]

It appears that the SAS has left behind forces to train Ukrainian soldiers. At least two of the officers from the SAS were confirmed as having been in Ukraine. Each posted with a different battalion near Kyiv. There 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. It would appear that the training course is approximately two weeks long for each participant.[40]

This follows an earlier report of UK special forces being left behind in Ukraine. This includes the SAS, Special Boat Service and Special Reconnaissance Regiment. The 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.[41]

Education centersEdit

In 2007 the system of exercise/training ranges was optimized, decreasing their number and providing a specialized role.[42]

Schooling occurs at:

Training ranges are at:

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

Branches of the Ground ForcesEdit

Armoured and mechanised forcesEdit

A Ukrainian soldier in a KrAZ Spartan prepares 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 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 a combination of Soviet-made (part of them modernized) and modern Ukrainian armored vehicles which includes T-80, T-64,[44] (T-64BV Model 2017, T-64BV), T-64BM "Bulat"[45] and T-72UA1 main battle tanks,[46][47][48] 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.[49] Today, all mechanised and armoured formations are called brigades.

Mountain and Jager BrigadesEdit

The Ukrainian Ground Forces also include two mountain infantry brigades and the newly formed 61st Jager brigade, reformed from the 61st Motorized Infantry in 2019.[50]

Mil Mi-24 of the Air Aviation

Army AviationEdit

Army Aviation provides reconnaissance, tactical fire support and air transport for the Ukrainian Ground Forces. As of 2017 Ukraine's army fields four Army Aviation brigades in an Army Aviation Command directly subordinated to the Ground Forces HQ:

The Army Aviation's maintenance facility is the 57th Aviation Base in Brody. The service's equipment includes: Mi-2, Mi-8, Mi-9, Mi-24 and Mi-26 helicopters.

Rocket Forces and ArtilleryEdit

Army Air DefenceEdit

The Army Air Defence units are responsible for protecting 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.[51]

A Ukrainian S-300P launchers

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 advanced passive sensors in the world, as it is claimed to be able to detect stealth aircraft.[citation needed]


The Donbas war caused a radical reform of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the general and the Ukrainian Ground Forces in particular. It built and expanded on the 2011 structure.[52] As of 2022 the structure is the following:[53]

Ground Forces Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (Military Unit [MU] А0105), Kyiv.[54][55]

Senior command personnel:[56]

  • Commander of the Ground Forces: General/Lieutenant-General
  • Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces: Lieutenant-General/Major-General
  • Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces: Major-General
  • Commander of Territorial Defence Forces of the Ground Forces Command: Major-General
  • Commander of Logistics of the Ground Forces Command: Brigadier General
  • Chief Sergeant-Major of the Ground Forces: Command Master Sergeant
A Ukrainian three men anti-tank team moving on foot in a winter maneuver, carrying Stugna-P ATGM

Formations and units directly subordinated to the Ground Forces Command:

Educational institutionsEdit

Training establishments units directly subordinated to the Ground Forces Command:[53]

  • National Academy of the Ground Forces 'Hetman Petro Sahaidachnyi' - Lviv, Lviv Oblast
    • officer cadets training establishments:
      • Faculty of Combat Application of the Forces
      • Faculty of Combined Arms
      • Faculty of Missile Troops and Artillery
      • Faculty for Preparation of Combat (Operational) Support Specialists
    • NCO Personnel Military College
    • International Peacekeeping and Security Center (MU А4150)
    • Combat Training Center for Military Units
    • 184th Training Center (MU А2615) - Starichi village, Lviv Oblast
      • 355th Mechanized Training Regiment (MU А3211)
      • Tank Training Battalion
      • 356th Artillery Training Regiment (MU А3618)
        • School of Self-Propelled Artillery
        • School of Towed Artillery
        • School of Anti-Tank Artillery
        • Mortar School
      • 49th Intelligence Training Center (MU А4138)
      • Engineer Training Battalion
      • Imitation and Modelling Simulation Center
      • 138th Logistical Training Battalion (MU А2600)
      • School for Initial and Refresher Training of Fire-Fighting Specialists
      • other departments (інші підрозділи)
  • Odessa Military Academy - Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • Armoured Forces Military Institute 'Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine' - Military Faculty of the 'Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute' National Technical University
  • 169th Training Centre, Desna[54][55]

Operational Command WestEdit

The 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 provides support by fire to infantry during an exercise.

Headquarters, Rivne[54][55]

Combat support units:

  • 7th Combat Command Group, Rivne, Rivne Oblast
  • 394th Security and Service Battalion, Rivne, Rivne Oblast
  • 224th Automobile Battalion, Rivne, Rivne Oblast
  • 55th Signals Regiment, Rivne, Rivne Oblast[54][55]
  • 346th Information and Telecommunications Nod
  • 146th Intelligence Command Center
  • Regional Center for Electronic Intelligence 'West'
  • 436th Electronic Warfare Nod
  • 201st Electronic Warfare Company
  • 111th NBC Surveillance and Analysis Station
  • 124th Joint Logistical Support Center
  • 146th Repair and Overhaul Regiment, Zolochiv
  • 182nd Material Supply Battalion
  • 233rd Combined Arms Training Range
  • 90th Base for Artillery Ammunitions
  • other specialised and logistical units
  • Military comissariates
  • Territorial centers for recruitment and social policy implementation

Combat units:

Territorial defence units:

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

  • Information and Telecommunications Nod of Regional Directorate 'West', Rivne, Rivne Oblast
  • Security and Service Company of Regional Directorate 'West', Rivne, Rivne Oblast
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Volyn Oblast
    • 2nd Rifle Battalion
    • 100th 'Volyn' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7028)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Rivne Oblast
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Lviv Oblast
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Ternopil Oblast
    • 16th Rifle Battalion
    • 105th 'Ternopil' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7033)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Khmelnytsky Oblast
    • 19th Rifle Battalion
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Zakarpattia Oblast
    • 5th Rifle Battalion
    • 101st 'Zakarpattian' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7029)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast
    • 7th Rifle Battalion
    • 102nd 'Ivano-Frankivsk' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7030)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Chernivtsi Oblast
    • 21st Rifle Battalion
    • 107th 'Chernivtsi' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7035)

Operational Command NorthEdit

The Operational Command North (MU 4583) is headquartered in Chernihiv and has an area of responsibility covering the Volyn, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi and Chernivtsi Oblasts. Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Poltava, Sumy, Cherkasy and Chernihiv Oblasts and the capital city of Kyiv.

Headquarters, Chernihiv[54][55]

Combat support units:

  • 9th Combat Command Group, Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast
  • 134th Security and Service Battalion (MU А1624), Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast
  • 226th Automobile Battalion (MU А2927), Berdychiv, Zhytomyr Oblast
  • 5th Signal Regiment (MU А2995), Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast
  • 367th Information and Telecommunications Nod (MU А2984), Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast
  • 90th Intelligence Command Center
  • Regional ELINT Center 'North' (MU А2622), Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast
    • 121st Maneuver ELINT Center (MU А1783), Chernihiv, Chernihiv Oblast
    • 122nd ELINT Center (MU А1993), Chuhuiv, Kharkiv Oblast
  • 20th Electronic Warfare Battalion (MU А1262), Zhytomyr, Zhytomyr Oblast [54][55]
  • 12th Operational Support [Engineer] Regiment (MU А3814), Novohrad-Volynskyi, Zhytomyr Oblast [54][55]
  • 107th NBC Surveillance and Analysis Station
  • 125th Topographic Unit
  • 229th Joint Logistical Support Center
  • 50th Repair and Overhaul Regiment (MU А1586), Huiva, Zhytomyr Oblast
  • 181st Material Supply Battalion (MU A2925), Novohrad-Volynskyi, Zhytomyr Oblast
  • other specialised and logistical units
  • 1322nd Artillery Ammunitions Base
  • 242nd Combined Arms Training Range
  • Military comissariates (військові комісаріати)
  • Territorial centers for recruitment and social policy implementation

Combat units:

Territorial defence units: Regional Directorate [of Territorial Defence] 'North', Kyiv

  • Information and Telecommunications Nod of Regional Directorate 'North', Kyiv
  • Security and Service Company of Regional Directorate 'North', Kyiv
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the City of Kyiv
    • ? Rifle Battalion
    • 112th 'City of Kyiv' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7040)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Kyiv Oblast
    • 8th Rifle Battalion
    • 114th 'Kyiv Oblast' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7042)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Zhytomyr Oblast
    • 4th Rifle Battalion
    • 115th 'Zhytomyr' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7043)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Poltava Oblast
    • 13th Rifle Battalion
    • 116th 'Poltava' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7044)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Sumy Oblast
    • 15th Rifle Battalion
    • 117th 'Sumy' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7045)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Cherkasy Oblast
    • 20th Rifle Battalion
    • 118th 'Cherkasy' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7046)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Chernihiv Oblast
    • 22nd Rifle Battalion
    • 119th 'Chernihiv' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7047)

Operational Command SouthEdit

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

Headquarters, Odessa[54][55]

Combat support units:

  • 10th Combat Command Group, Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • 363rd Security and Service Battalion (MU А1785), Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • 225th Automobile Battalion, Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • 7th Signal Regiment (MU А3783), Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • 64th Information and Telecommunications Nod (MU А1283), Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • 91st Intelligence Command Center (MU А2152)
  • Regional ELINT Center 'South' (MU А3438)
    • 78th ELINT Center (MU А2395)
    • 79th ELINT Center (MU А2412)
    • 82nd Manoeuver ELINT Center (MU А2444)
  • 23rd Electronic Warfare Company
  • 16th Operational Support [Engineer] Regiment
  • 108th NBC Surveillance and Analysis Station
  • 46th Joint Logistical Support Center
  • 31st Repair and Overhaul Regiment
  • 183rd Material Supply Battalion
  • 1513th Artillery Ammunitions Base
  • 235th Joint Forces for Preparation of Military Units and Sub-Units
  • 241st Combined Arms Training Range
  • other specialised and logistical units
  • Military comissariates
  • Territorial centers for recruitment and social policy implementation

Combat units:

Territorial defence units:

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

  • Information and Telecommunications Nod of Regional Directorate 'South', Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • Security and Service Company of Regional Directorate 'South', Odessa, Odessa Oblast
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Vinnytsia Oblast
    • 1st Rifle Battalion
    • 120th 'Vinnytsia' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7048)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Kirovohrad Oblast
    • 9th Rifle Battalion
    • 121st 'Kirovohrad' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7049)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Odessa Oblast
    • 12th Rifle Battalion
    • 122nd 'Odessa' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7051)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Mykolaiv Oblast
    • 11th Rifle Battalion
    • 123rd 'Mykolaiv' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7052)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Kherson Oblast
    • 18th Rifle Battalion
    • 124th 'Kherson' Territorial Defence Brigade (cadred) (MU А7053)

Operational Command EastEdit

The 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 the 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.

Headquarters, Dnipro[54][55] (as the result of war in Donbas, a split from the OC "South")

Combat support units:

  • 8th Combat Command Group,
  • 133rd Security and Service Battalion (MU А3750), Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • 227th Automobile Battalion (MU А1823), Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • 121st Signal Regiment (MU А1214), Cherkaske, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast [54][55]
  • 368th Information and Telecommunications Nod (MU А2326), Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • 188th Intelligence Command Center
  • Regional ELINT Center 'East'
  • 502nd Electronic Warfare Battalion (MU А1828), Cherkaske, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast [54][55]
  • 91st Operational Support [Engineer] Regiment (MU А0563), Okhtyrka, Sumy Oblast [54][55]
  • 102nd NBC Surveillance and Analysis Station (102 розрахунково-аналітична станція)
  • 532nd Repair and Overhaul Regiment (MU А3336)
  • 218th Joint Logistical Support Center
  • 78th Material Supply Battalion (MU В4756), Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • 222nd Central Artillery Ammunitions Base
  • 239th Combined Arms Training Range
  • other specialised and logistical units
  • Military commissariats
  • Territorial centers for recruitment and social policy implementation

Combat units:

Territorial defence units:

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

  • Information and Telecommunications Nod of Regional Directorate 'East', Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • Security and Service Company of Regional Directorate 'East', Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
    • 3rd Rifle Battalion
    • 108th 'Dnipropetrovsk' Territorial Defence Brigade (MU А7036)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Kharkiv Oblast
    • 17th Rifle Battalion
    • 113th 'Kharkiv Territorial Defence Brigade (MU А7041)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast
    • 6th Rifle Battalion (6-й окремий стрілецький батальйон)
    • 110th 'Zaporizhzhia' Territorial Defence Brigade (MUА7038)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Donetsk Oblast
    • ? Rifle Battalion
    • 109th 'Donetsk' Territorial Defence Brigade (MU А7037)
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Luhansk Oblast
    • ? Rifle Battalion
    • 111th 'Luhansk' Territorial Defence Brigade (MU А7039)

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

  • Territorial Defence Zone of Sevastopol
    • Rifle Battalion
    • Territorial Defence Brigade
  • Territorial Defence Zone of the Crimean Autonomous Republic
    • Rifle Battalion
    • Territorial Defence Brigade

Reserve CorpsEdit

Reserve Corps[59]

The army's Reserve Corps (Ukrainian: Корпус резерву) is a new formation, directly subordinated to the General Staff. It is also called the Army Strategic Reserve 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:[60]

  • Operational Reserve of the First Line (оперативний резерв першої черги) – by 2020 it should include about 50,000 reserve servicemen with extensive combat training (60 days of combat training every two years) in the reserve companies and batteries of the operational army brigades and regiments and those reservists are to become casualty replacements in wartime
  • Operational Reserve of the Second Line (оперативний резерв другої черги) – it should include reserve servicemen with combat training of 30 days every two years in territorial defence brigades. In addition the command personnel will undergo 10 days training cycles yearly. The 4th Army Corps should also act as the pool formation for those territorial brigades and transfer them to the ground forces' operational commands in wartime as needed.
  • Mobilization Reserve (мобілізаційний резерв) – it should include all the Ukrainian citizens, who are eligible to mobilization in case of a war, but do not belong to the first or the second line operational reserve. They could be used to form support units or to boost the service numbers of the territorial brigades as casualty replacements.

In that organization the Reserve Corps is currently (2022) engaged in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and its reservists have fought in every ground operation of the conflict.

Geographic distributionEdit

Location of Ukrainian Ground Forces units

  Tank,   Mechanized,   Motorized,   Mountain Assault,   Artillery,   Rocket Artillery,   Army Aviation
Regiments:   Rocket Artillery,   Anti-Aircraft Missile Artillery,   Engineer
units in Italics are directly subordinated to Ground Forces Command

List of commandersEdit

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

Military ranksEdit

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

In the new uniforms the Ukrainian Ground Forces unveiled in August 2016 the stars that traditionally adorn shoulder straps have been replaced by diamonds.[61] A new set of insignia are being adopted.

General and officer ranksEdit

Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
  Ukrainian Ground Forces[62]
Бригадний генерал
Bryhadnyi heneral
Старший лейтенант
Starshyi leitenant
Молодший лейтенант
Molodshyi leitenant

Other ranks and NCOsEdit

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
  Ukrainian Ground Forces[62]
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
A soldier in standard camouflage outfit



The Ukrainian Army unveiled its new uniforms on 24 August 2016 (Independence Day of Ukraine).[61] The new uniforms are modeled on British military styles, having a modern pixelated digital camouflage pattern.[61] They also incorporate details from the uniforms worn by the Ukrainian People's Army.[61] The new cap includes an insignia of a Ukrainian Cossack grasping a cross.[61]

Deployment outside of UkraineEdit


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

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.[63]

From 2003 to 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, 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 to be returned home and Ukraine's mission to the nation officially over.[64]


Between 2001 and 2021, 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.[65]

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, 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.[65]


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.[66]


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.[67]

Military decorationsEdit


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.[68]

Since gaining independence, Ukraine has deployed troops to Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, gaining 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.[68]

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, although 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, 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.[69] 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.

Soldiers that took part in the war in Donbas can receive free land plots.[70]

On 22 November 2018 the (Ukrainian) Ministry for Veterans Affairs was officially established.[71]

See alsoEdit


  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.[21]



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General sourcesEdit

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit