After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine received a magnificent army - three very strong military districts of the second strategic echelon and three air armies (not counting the powerful arsenal of strategic nuclear forces), the total number is about 800 thousand people. The troops were equipped with a huge amount of modern military equipment. In count tanks (more than 6100) and combat aircraft (more than 1100) Ukraine occupied the 4th place in the world after the USA, Russia and China.
How Ukraine lost the Soviet legacy
Now almost everyone has forgotten how many horror stories about the possible war between Russia and Ukraine were in the Russian media of the beginning of 1990's. But in the event of such a war, the army of Ukraine would have a significant superiority over the Russian Armed Forces in the European part of the country: Russia got mostly weak third-tier districts with cropped divisions and outdated equipment, as well as groups of troops "hovering" in Eastern Europe, randomly displayed in clean field.
Even after Washington and Moscow forced Kiev to abandon nuclear weapons, it almost did not change anything: the starting conditions for military construction in Ukraine were simply luxurious, definitely the best among all countries of the former USSR. Especially in view of the most powerful personnel potential and highly developed military industrial complex. Ukraine received at least 700 military enterprises, having the ability to produce almost any equipment. In particular, it turned out to be a monopolist in the post-Soviet space for the production of heavy liquid intercontinental and space rockets, aircraft carriers, heavy military transport aircraft, helicopter engines.
Two post-Soviet decades, Ukraine used, to put it mildly, not in the best way. According to such a major economic indicator, as GDP per capita, Ukraine among the 15 countries of the former USSR moved from second place in 1992 to ninth place in 2011. In terms of growth of this indicator, it was among them in the last, 15, place. The population of the country during this time decreased by 7 million people. Military construction quite fit into the general trend.
We will not take the hopeless Moldavia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic countries, which to this day have purely symbolic Armed Forces. They had no starting conditions or resources for anything else. The Baltic countries are also under the formal protection of NATO (it is formal, but it creates the illusion of security). All the other post-Soviet armies gradually entered the path of progressive development (of course, each country has its own), some of them were able to create high-quality armies. Only the Armed Forces of Ukraine remained in a state of chaotic degradation, from which all countries of the former USSR began. As a result, as well as in the economy, having the best starting conditions in the former country, Ukraine today received the worst result.
Sale of "surplus"
The Armed Forces of Ukraine have gone through some structural changes. The Carpathian, Odessa and Kiev military districts became the Western and Southern operational command and territorial control "North". Divisions have become brigades, of which there are now 17 (two tank, eight mechanized, one airborne, two airmobile, one rocket and three artillery). There are also over 20 regiments, including three special forces regiments.
According to official data of the CFE Treaty on January 1 2013, Ukraine had 2311 tanks, 3782 armored vehicles, 3101 artillery systems, 507 combat aircraft, 121 attack helicopter. That is, the abbreviations for 20 years turned out to be very large, 2 — 3 are multiples. At the same time, these figures are purely formal - at best, half of the equipment registered in the Ukrainian Armed Forces is combat-ready.
The numerous disappeared machinery is either rotten or sold out. During the post-Soviet period (1992 — 2012), Ukraine became one of the world's leading exporters of weapons. During this time, 285 tanks and 430 BTRs were produced by Ukrainian enterprises for export deliveries (there are orders for another 50 tanks and a couple of hundred BTRs). But from the presence of the Ukrainian Armed Forces for the same years, the 1162 tank, 1221 BBM (BRDM, BMP, BTR), 529 artillery systems, 134 combat aircraft, 112 combat helicopters, a significant amount of air defense weapons were sold abroad.
That is, export success is more than 90% not the achievement of the domestic MIC, but the sale of property. The rapid sale of the Soviet legacy continues today; its main consumers are the countries of tropical Africa (such as Mali, Ethiopia, DRC). It is believed that Ukraine sells surplus and outdated equipment. But these "surplus" is somehow very much, and they are by no means the oldest compared to what remains in Ukraine. The most important thing is that the cancellation and sale of the Soviet inheritance is not compensated by new supplies.
Ukrainian tanks and armored personnel carriers are relatively successful in export, but their own aircraft is "neither hot nor cold." The project of modernization of the 2000 Soviet T-400 tanks into the T-64BM Bulat version, which appeared at the beginning of 64, was immediately reduced to 85 units; Today 76 machines are really modernized. But this is not new, but modernized Soviet tanks. The new T-84U Oplot tanks were able to purchase ten of them, ten more sophisticated BM Oplot were ordered, but there was no money for their actual acquisition from the Ministry of Defense. At the same time fifty "strongholds" will be delivered to Thailand, which has money. Not bad sold abroad BTR-3 and BTR-4, the bill goes to the hundreds. The Ukrainian Armed Forces themselves ordered only ten BTR-4, but there was no money for them either. Myanmar and Chad have money for such cars, Ukraine does not.
Parasitism on the remains of Soviet technology
True, with the export of armored vehicles Ukraine has recently had very serious problems. The Kharkov factory named after Malyshev is simply not capable of organizing the mass production of armored vehicles (whether for their aircraft or for export). Now there is a loud scandalous breach of contract with Iraq for the delivery of BTR-4 to this country due to the poor quality of the vehicles. From BTR-3 silently refused to Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates. The main buyers of the new Ukrainian armored vehicles are Nigeria and Thailand, but with the latter, an even greater scandal about the “Plots” is possible.
A vivid personification of the situation in the Ukrainian military-industrial complex has become история the creation of operational-tactical missile complex "Sapsan". In 2007 — 2013, more than 200 million hryvnas (about 1 billion rubles) were spent on it. However, during this time, not only a prototype was not created, but documentation was not even developed. As a result, the project had to close. In fact, 100% allocated to it (very considerable for the Armed Forces of Ukraine) money was simply stolen.
As for artillery systems, air defense systems, combat aircraft and helicopters, today they are not produced in Ukraine itself or acquired abroad. The Su-25 attack aircraft and MiG-29 fighters are being upgraded, but the modernization rate is very low, and, most importantly, as in the case of Bulat, this is not the production of new technology, but some extension of the old life.
Ukraine seems to be able to build ships, however, the construction program for corvettes of 58250 Ave. on “people's money” degenerated into a farce right after its beginning (although the Ukrainian Navy’s leadership planned to control the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean with these corvettes): the first of them in 20 at best, the country will get four corvettes at best, of which the first in 2012. That is, for 2016 years of independence, the country's armed forces received 20 new tanks - and nothing more.
However, even this is not the worst. More strikingly, all these two decades in the armed forces of the country almost completely lacked combat training. When, occasionally, they tried to carry it out, combat missiles hit either in residential buildings or in passenger aircraft (with large civilian casualties); as a result, the Ministry of Defense reduced it to zero. The average flight time per pilot in the Ukrainian Air Force in the 2012 year reached 40 hours, which is considered an outstanding achievement (for comparison, in the Russian Air Force this figure was reduced to 120 hours). The exercises of the ground forces are conducted at best in a company link - a battalion, and even then not often. To achieve a fundamental improvement in the situation is impossible because of the extremely difficult economic situation in the country.
Salvation - in the absence of enemies
On the other hand, it is impossible not to admit that Ukraine, by and large, does not need the army because of the absence of a threat of external aggression.
True, western neighbors (Hungary and Romania) today are aggressive towards Ukraine: they distribute their passports to its citizens living in territories that previously belonged to these countries. But it is not necessary to do it by force: Ukrainian citizens take new passports voluntarily and with pleasure. With such a fight by military means is useless.
Of course, you can theoretically imagine how the neighbors will go to war against Ukraine in order to protect their new citizens, but theoretically. The ability of the Romanians to war has long passed on the category of satire and humor. In addition, the Romanian Armed Forces are also unique in the extreme archaic nature of technology. Until now, all their 853 tanks are T-55, all 98 combat aircraft are MiG-21. A small number of T-72 and MiG-29, obtained from the USSR at the end of 80-x, the Romanians quickly and successfully ditched to complete non-recoverability.
The situation in the Hungarian Armed Forces is not much better: on their armament today there are only 150 T-72 tanks (of which 120 are in storage) and only 14 Swedish Grippen fighters. The number of personnel reduced to 22 thousand people. Accordingly, it is difficult to wait for aggression from Romania and Hungary, the development trajectory of their armed forces is about the same as that of the Ukrainian armed forces - confidently down.
No less difficult to imagine Turkish aggression against Ukraine. Of course, the Turkish Armed Forces are much stronger than the Ukrainian today, but still the Black Sea is a very serious water barrier. In addition, for such aggression there are no clear goals, the problem of the Crimean Tatars for Ankara is not something that is not on the first, but not even on the 20-th place in the list of its foreign policy priorities.
As for Russia, Ukraine is not capable of resisting it in all respects. Today, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have received a very significant superiority over the quantity and quality of equipment and the level of combat training over the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But the main thing is not even in this, but in the fact that for a significant part of the population of Ukraine “Russia” is the “own” country. An extremely noticeable part of potential soldiers and even officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the event of war against Russia will not just immediately surrender, but will express a desire to stand under the tricolor flag against “yellow blot”.
Thus, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, while continuing to absorb significant money from the disastrous Ukrainian budget, do not provide the country with any defenses. However, she does not need any defenses.
UN peacekeeping operations as a way out
Therefore, in the coming years, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will undergo another reform, consisting in their further significant reduction and sale of a significant part of the remaining equipment and other property. Due to this, the army will be hired, that is professional.
In Russia, many people are still convinced that having a professional army in a country means a higher degree of its development compared to a country with a conscript army. Based on this postulate, it should be recognized that Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Gambia are more developed than Norway, Finland, South Korea, Switzerland.
In fact, the method of staffing the Armed Forces is determined by the tasks that they face, and nothing more. In particular, if a country is threatened with a large-scale external aggression, it needs a conscription army: the hired task of repulsing such aggression cannot be solved - this has been repeatedly confirmed by international experience. But the hired army is very well suited for solving problems inside the country in the interests of the regime that hired it. If the draft army, that is, the people's army, in the overwhelming majority of cases will not shoot at its people, then the mercenary army will easily.
As was shown above, in any case, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will not be able to fight with Russia; expecting aggression from other directions is stupid. Accordingly, there is no point in having a full-fledged draft army, for which there is still no money. On the other hand, the specificity of the current Ukrainian regime is such that in the very foreseeable future it may seriously require the defense protection inside the country, from its own population. Accordingly, the regime needs “liberal love” - “compact professional army”. Its main task will be just the removal of the remnants of Ukrainian liberalism.
Thanks to a further radical reduction in the number of personnel and equipment, there will be enough money for its maintenance. Moreover, it is possible to bring it to partial self-sufficiency, using in very fashionable now UN peacekeeping operations and NATO in Africa and Asia. The current peacekeeping contingents almost always turn out to be completely incapacitated, because Western peacekeepers do not want to fight, and African and Asian cannot. Ukrainians here will be the ideal option. On the one hand, they, unlike the "real" Europeans, do not feel sorry for anyone, on the other hand, they have a higher level of training than most armies of developing countries (at least African).
For such operations, the UN and NATO pay well. Of course, the Ukrainian leadership will take most of this money for itself, but something will also fall to the military itself. With the current level of income, Ukrainians even “something” will be enough to feel very good. Moreover, the "professionals" will obviously become almost exclusively representatives of the social classes. At the same time, they will gain experience in dealing with civilians and rebel groups, which can then come in handy in their own country. A good addition to the Ukrainian army in this case could be the Chinese army (represented by the Xinjiang industrial building corps), which officially received 50 thousand square meters for 30 years. km of the territory of Ukraine.
Of course, Russia cannot afford a “compact professional army” due to geopolitical or internal political circumstances; on the contrary, we must also increase the current one. Ukraine can serve as an example for it - only not positive, but negative. And this example is truly outstanding. It is very difficult to find in the history examples of such a rapid reduction of powerful, high-quality and balanced aircraft to such a sad state.