For any armed forces, two main things are important - economy and personnel. With the first in Kiev it is very bad, with the second - it is normal. True, "very bad with the economy" is compensated by external financing. Right now, a US bill is being considered on the annual allocation of $ 304 million for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine only through the Pentagon. And "good with cadres" is leveled out by their lack of ideology and lack of willingness to die. Although they are trying to overcome this with the help of aggressive propaganda. As for the rest, if we compare Russian and Ukrainian personnel, there is not much difference.
We all come from the USSR, and all the hurricane reforms could not finish off neither education nor mentality. Taking into account the fact that Ukrainians, in essence, are the same Russians, then the average recruit in the intellectual and physical sense is approximately the same here and there. True, there is a subtle point here - after all, the quality of human material is gradually deteriorating there: due to poverty and the outflow of the smartest and strongest to the EU. In Russia, the problem is not so acute. Again, it is one thing to go to serve as a contract soldier in the army, and another thing to join the fighting army. The latter frightens off many.
To summarize, the command structure is approximately the same in the Russian Federation and in the Ukraine. True, the Russian is the bearer of more advanced technical knowledge. Sergeant and private - intellectually and physically better than Russian. But on the other hand - combat experience, which gives the screening of people who are not able to withstand the war.
Air Force and Air Defense
I deliberately bring it down to one point, because in the formation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine this is one branch of the army - Podvitryani strength. And let's start with the air defense, or rather, with the recent scandal around the air defense.
"The facts of illegal delivery established by the Service weapons from the Russian Federation indicate that the organizers have no scheme of any desire to strengthen the defense capability of our state. We are talking exclusively about private motives. The findings completely dispel the myth that individuals allegedly helped the state. As you can see, they bought this group of goods (klystrons, which are used to launch missiles of the S300 anti-aircraft missile system - ed.) At a price of $ 30, and sold them to defense enterprises for $ 200. That is, we see that there is no question of helping and defending state interests here. "
Semyon Semenchenko, notorious for his crimes against the population of Donbass, was arrested, but not for his own affairs, but for, calling things by their proper names, fraud against the state. Apparently, he was instructed to establish a channel for the purchase of spare parts and components for the S-300 air defense system in the Russian Federation, and he began to shamelessly profit from this.
At one time, Ukraine received a powerful air defense system, but the years go by, and from the former splendor, in which not a penny of money was invested, there are only 250 S-300 launchers, of which, God forbid, two dozen have been repaired, and a few Buks. And now, it turns out that the repair and modernization of the complexes continued at the expense of Russian spare parts. This will not help seriously, the complexes of retirement age cannot be raised to the level of modern ones by any repairs, but it is quite possible to put them in order and use them in something local. In general, everything is sad with air defense there, and it will only get worse - the newest Western-made complexes will hardly be sold to Kiev.
The same cannot be said about airplanes:
By 2030, according to the long-term plan for the development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, regular deliveries of new fighters should be established, up to a total of 36 aircraft.
Media write about supplies "Rafalei", but again, this is a long and dreary business, and if you keep within 10 years for 36 cars, then this, perhaps, will even be a kind of breakthrough. In the meantime, the few planes of Ukraine are terrible only for the LPNR Corps, due to the lack of adequate air defense there, which is now represented by "Wasps" and "Strelami-10".
In the event of a direct conflict with the Russian Federation, all this can perhaps die heroically ... If, of course, it manages to rise into the air. It is not surprising in such conditions to rely on Bayraktars, some kind of strike complex capable of delivering the first strike and which can be used for reconnaissance purposes. With all the glory of the UAV data after the Karabakh war, such toys are good only in the fight of equal opponents, in which a manned aviation completely neutralized, and the electronic warfare is fragmented.
All of the above does not mean that these same Devilish forces are generally useless for anything. They are unable to fight on equal terms with Russia, to bomb the republics of Donbass in the Stone Age (if there is no support from Russia) or to inflict provocative strikes on Crimea, they are quite capable. The results will be sad, really. But the Ukrainian army used a disposable tool (and not Ukrainian, at one time similar to it, but less powerful Georgian), without even raising an eyebrow.
On the one hand, after 2014, the Naval Forces of Ukraine turned into a purely nominal structure, and attempts to build ships under President Poroshenko gave nothing. Still, the construction of river armored boats and a certain mutant rebuilt from a long-term trawler is not a fleet. Likewise, do not the US Coast Guard cutter fleet, no matter how many hand them over. On the other hand, the fleet is not only and not so much ships.
In recent years, Kiev has been actively purchasing equipment and equipment for combat swimmers in the West, which has been written about in the blogosphere, and has a powerful training base in Ochakov. Kiev created two coastal defense brigades, called for some reason the marines, an artillery brigade (406 artillery brigade) and a rocket artillery regiment (32 rocket artillery regiment), armed with Hurricanes. There are also tests of the anti-ship missile system "Neptune", but the author is skeptical about them. After the pogrom of the defense industry, which took place there over the years of independence, the maximum they can do is piece copies of missiles. Otherwise, "Hurricanes" would not have been transferred to coastal defense. Even a dozen anti-ship missiles of incomprehensible quality in modern warfare is about nothing.
So, saboteurs become the main striking force of the Ukrainian Navy, which, provided that they are equipped with equipment from NATO countries, can become a problem. And the equipment goes: from Italian equipment to American "Zodiacs". There are plans there, however, for ships. And the ships are not bad: corvettes of the "Ada" type, from four to five pieces. How will it be in practice and will it be at all? Controversial issue.
And ... they do not need them. Unless, like the Poles, destroyers in the interwar period - to satisfy their sense of their own greatness. The only adversary that post-Maidan Ukraine considers in such a role is the Russian Federation in the limited waters of the Black Sea, where saboteurs and coastal defense can bring benefits.
And the conflict with the republics of Donbass requires boats for Azov, small ones for corvettes. And the point is with anti-ship missiles against an enemy who has no fleet, no ports - near-zero. Kiev has enough boats: both new and old.
Special Operations Forces
Again, I give along with the airborne assault troops. Because there is little objective information on this issue, but subjectively there is a set of opinions: from “good for nothing” to “terrible threat”.
It is more or less clear with the military transport aviation - it really does not exist. Formally, there are 7 Il-18 and 76 An-19 in the National Guard for 26 brigades and two regiments of two types of troops. But how much of this goodness can take off? Great question. Attempts to re-equip with new aircraft from the Antonov Design Bureau led to an epic failure. So their airborne assault brigades, together with airborne and airborne assault brigades, are infantry. In fact, light infantry with a small number of armored vehicles (10 T-80s in a brigade), capable of working effectively in a limited conflict.
With two regiments of spetsnaz история similar. Having suffered heavy losses in 2014-2015, they are now only capable of local operations in the Donbass, but it is difficult to imagine that they are conducting full-scale sabotage activities against the RF Armed Forces.
And attempts to work on the territory of the Russian Federation have so far led to failures. Exactly three in number: from two DRG visits to Russian territory and to attempts to kidnap an ensign of the DPR Ministry of State Security in Moscow. Recently, cases of media coverage of the detention of the FSB of the Russian Federation of pro-Ukrainian radicals have become more frequent, which is one of the fruits of the activities of the Ukrainian centers of information and psychological operations. But, by and large, all this is also a profanation and purely amateur moves. At least, attempts to influence the events in Belarus from Kiev did not show anything, in the sense - in general.
If other branches of the armed forces have receipts of foreign equipment, or at least plans for this, then the ground forces have nothing. On the one hand, this is understandable - mountains remained of Soviet weapons. In addition, there are purchases of Soviet weapons from countries that were former members of the Department of Internal Affairs. And there is simply no money for NATO equipment. On the other hand, it is unrealistic to name the real amount of equipment of the ground forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. How many of it is working properly - they probably don't even know in Kiev.
Briefly go over the numbers. Army aviation - 4 brigades of up to 50 helicopters (Mi-24, Mi-8, Mi-2), operational-tactical missile systems. One brigade is armed with Tochka-U with an incomprehensible number of launch complexes and missiles of unclear serviceability. In 2014-2015, the complex was actively used in Snezhnoye, Donetsk, Shakhtyorsk and in the Debaltsev campaign, and, I think, the newest and most useful missiles.
In addition to the OTRK, there are 9 more cannon and rocket artillery brigades. But then again, how many serviceable artillery systems are in them? And most importantly, what are the BC stocks and the degree of its suitability? The questions are purely philosophical, the answers to which can only be given by war. And as its practice shows, if these 9 brigades give a strength equal to two or three full-fledged ones, then it will already be good ... for them. Although in the event of a local conflict in Donbass, this force is undoubtedly formidable. And capable of destroying the infrastructure of local agglomerations, following the example of the winter of 2014/15, when the Armed Forces of Ukraine tried to knock out boiler houses to organize a humanitarian disaster. And it also has a strong side - American-made radio electronics. In the event of a direct conflict with the RF Armed Forces, without adequate air defense and air forces, all this equipment is doomed to be knocked out in the first days of the conflict.
Tank Armed Forces brigades formed as many as 5 units. Outwardly a formidable fist, but ...
The only modern tanks are the T-64BBM "Bulat", a deep modernization of the T-64 tank. The Ukrainians themselves declare the presence of hundreds of them. But taking into account the losses incurred in 2014 by 1 OTBR of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the presence of these tanks in the Desna training center and the academy - the real number is less ...
The purely Ukrainian "Oplot", built in two modifications in the amount of as many as 11 pieces, did not take off either. Of these, seven are in service, and they are purely nominal weapons. The rest is the mass of T-64s, modernized depending on the availability of funds and imagination. Of these, 150 BV modifications should be fully operational. There are still some T-72 (from 5).
In short, there are up to six hundred tanks of various modifications in the ranks. At least three or four hundred of them are capable of going into battle, but against an enemy that is clearly weaker than the APU. War is a complex game. And, losing in the air, in artillery, in OTRK and as a technique, it is foolish to hope for one amount.
I won't talk much about the infantry. All the same BMP-1, -2, armored personnel carriers from 60 to 80. The only interesting thing is the division of brigades into mechanized and motorized rifle. Having formed a bunch of units, "the most powerful army in Europe" is unable to provide them with either transport or armored vehicles in full. So you have to create lightweight ersatz.
If, on the whole.
The Armed Forces are capable of capturing the republics of Donbass if Russia remains on the sidelines. True, with a lot of blood and grinding down its composition to the nominal. Most of the vehicles will not survive another campaign. Yes, and the BC was shot in order.
To commit a provocation against Crimea ... are also capable. True, with a further rapid defeat.
Although this is not their main task. Their goal is to create tension for Russia, which requires an increase in the already Russian Armed Forces and ever-increasing costs. Well, Donbass, where the Russian Federation is in an openly ambiguous position. And where, having created the classic "execution cannot be pardoned," now you have to get sanctions and think.
In this sense, as a kind of auxiliary corps of NATO, such a native formation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are fully responsible for their tasks.
And if this year does not happen a war, the vector of development there is unlikely to change. And why? The Armed Forces of Ukraine, capable of equally opposing the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, is unscientific fantasy.
And as an instrument of hybrid war, it is quite a reality.