Immediately after the collapse of the USSR, the Armed Forces of Ukraine in their combat potential shared with China third and fourth places in the world (after the United States and Russia). However, during the post-Soviet period they experienced the hardest decline. Now on paper, the Ukrainian army is still quite large (although approximately 2-3 times in all classes of equipment is less than that in 1992 year), but in reality it is hardly even among the strongest armies in the world 50.
This situation is due to the fact that for the past 22 years, the troops have not received any new equipment (except 10 tanks T-84 "Hold"), and combat training was at a very low level. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are chronically underfunded throughout the entire period of the country's independence, the prestige of military service is very low. Ukraine is among the ten largest exporters weaponsAt the same time, on 80-90% its export is a sale of equipment from its own aircraft, and not the worst, but the best. Exclusively for export, and not for the armed forces of their country, the Ukrainian military-industrial complex operates.
Organizationally, the ground forces are divided into Operational Command (OK) “West” and “South” and Territorial Administration (TU) “North”. OK "West" includes three mechanized, missile and artillery brigades, mechanized, airmobile, special forces, artillery, anti-aircraft missile and two army aviation shelves. OK “South” - a tank, three mechanized, airmobile, airborne and artillery brigades, special forces, reactive artillery, anti-aircraft missile and army aviation regiments. TU "North" - a tank, two mechanized, airmobile and artillery brigades, reactive artillery and anti-aircraft missile regiments.
The 25-i airborne (Gvardeiskoe village, Dnipropetrovsk region), 79-I (Nikolaev) and 95-I (Zhytomyr) airmobile brigades, 3-i (Kirovograd) and 8-i (Khmelnitsky) regiments of special forces are considered the most combat-capable.
The ground forces have 12 launchers (launchers) of tactical missiles "Tochka-U" (78 is still in storage), the firing range of which reaches 120 km. The tank fleet consists of the 10 of the aforementioned “Strongholds” and the 1100 T-64, of which 76 has been upgraded to a modification of the T-64BM “Bulat”. Approximately 650 T-64 is still in storage, around 500 T-72 and up to 250 T-80. The number of infantry fighting vehicles, airborne combat vehicles (BMD) and armored personnel carriers is about 3,8 thousand, of which the newest can be considered as 400 BTR-80. There are 3,1 thousand artillery systems, of which only the multiple rocket launcher systems (MLRS) - 137 "Hurricanes" and 82 "Smerchias" have sufficiently serious combat power. It must be borne in mind that all of these figures are “paper”: up to half of the equipment is, in fact, completely inefficient, absolutely all of it (except for 10 “Plots”) is very outdated, practically having developed a resource, since it was produced in the USSR.
The same applies to the military air defense, where there is a Buk-М60 anti-aircraft missile systems (ZRK) up to 1, up to 125 Osa and 150 air-missiles Strela-10, and to 70 anti-aircraft rocket-gun complexes (ZRPK) " Tunguska. The most modern air defense systems "Tor" were withdrawn from service because of the inability to service.
Army aviation has a 51 combat helicopter Mi-24 (before storage 90), up to 60 multi-purpose helicopters Mi-8, several heavy transport Mi-26.
Air Force (Air Force) and Air Defense (Air Defense) are divided into Air Command (VK) "West", "South" and "Center". VC "West" has in its composition two brigades of tactical aviation, three anti-aircraft missile regiments, one radio engineering brigade. VK "South" - two brigades of tactical aviation, two anti-aircraft missile brigades, 4 anti-aircraft missile regiments, two radio engineering brigades. Of these, the 204 brigade of tactical aviation (Belbek, Sevastopol) and three anti-aircraft missile regiments are deployed in the Crimea - 50 (Feodosia, Alushta), 55 (Evpatoria), 174 (Dergachi, Sevastopol). VK "Center" includes three brigades of tactical aviation, two anti-aircraft missile brigades, five anti-aircraft missile regiments, one radio engineering brigade.
There are about 20 Su-24 front-line bombers as part of the 7 tactical aviation brigade in Starokonstantinov (before 55 in storage) and 43 attack aircraft Su-25 in the 299 brigade in Nikolaev (4 in storage). Fighter aircraft consists of 60 Su-27, including 13 Su-27UB (still 5 in storage) and 96 MiG-29, including 18 MiG-29UB (before 50 in storage). Also, about 50 MiG-23 and up to 20 MiG-25 are in storage. For the post-Soviet period, the Air Force did not receive any new equipment, only the 1 MiG-29 and 13 Su-25 were upgraded. Of those aircraft that are listed in the ranks of the Air Force, not more than half can actually rise into the air (presumably 20-25%). There is up to 40 training aircraft L-39 (as many more in storage) and up to 100 various transport aircraft.
Ground-based air defense incorporates the 30 divisions of anti-aircraft missile systems (ZRS) C-300P, 14 battalions of the Buk-М1 air defense system; The 4 of the C-300В division and the 12 of the С-200 divisions of the СРС were withdrawn from service because of the impossibility of service.
If the ground forces and the air force, even on paper, have significant potential, then the naval forces of Ukraine are extremely weak. They include the submarine of the 641 project (it’s already 44), the patrol ship (frigate) of the 1135P project, two small anti-submarine ships (MPK) of the 1124М project and the patrol ship of the 1124P project, the IPC of 12412 project, two missile boats (12411T project and 206МР project) , 1400M project patrol boat, two 266М sea-going minesweepers, 1258 project minesweeper, large landing ship (BDK) of 775 project, medium landing ship (KFOR) 773 project. The real combat potential of the Navy is practically zero in any aspect (shock, anti-submarine, air defense).
In naval aviation, there are 5 anti-submarine amphibians Be-12 (3 is still in storage), 7 transport aircraft, 13 helicopters for various purposes (Ka-27, Ka-29, Mi-14).
Coastal units of the Navy are stationed in Crimea. The 1 Battalion of the Marine Corps is in Feodosia (armed with 40 BTR-80, 8 mortars, anti-tank missile systems and Igla portable anti-aircraft missile systems), and at Perevalnoye, 36-I mechanized coastal defense brigade (39) , 64 BMP-75, 2 on BTR-50 and BTR-70, 80 artillery systems, including Grad 90 MLRS. There is a 18 division of coastal defense with two launchers of the Rubezh anti-ship missile system (with anti-ship missile missile system P-25).
The Ukrainian Armed Forces do not have any real impact on the territory of the Russian Federation unless they strike first, and the Su-24 pilots will agree to act as a kamikaze, and the technical condition of the aircraft and the level of training of the pilots will accomplish the task at least in this version. The probability of this option is zero. Moreover, all aircraft munitions were produced during the Soviet period, the storage period for most of them has already expired. Moreover, all of these munitions are either conventional unguided free-falling bombs, or missiles with a range of only a few kilometers.
It is somewhat easier to influence Russian troops in the Crimea, but this simplicity is also very conditional. It is obvious that parts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the peninsula have already been neutralized. At the same time, a Russian anti-aircraft missile regiment is stationed here, which is complemented by the anti-aircraft defense of the cruiser “Moscow” and fighters from the territory of the Krasnodar Territory. The Ukrainian side will not be able to achieve surprise, since both the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and their supporters in the South and East of Ukraine are in full readiness (not only in the Crimea). Even the elite units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have no chance of success in such a situation, they also become kamikazes. The expectation of provoking a war in order to receive foreign aid will only have the opposite effect: NATO forces will not take part in the war under any circumstances, and if the Ukrainian side starts to fight first, it will, to a large extent, also lose Western political support.
General mobilization may be for the Armed Forces of Ukraine "control shot". There are certain doubts that the Ukrainian state can really hold it. Let us even put aside low training of potential reservists, as well as the fact that a significant part of them are on earnings outside the country, or will try by all means to avoid conscription. Let us assume that it is possible to gather several hundred thousand reservists at the recruiting stations. After that, they will have to be separated into military units (a very difficult task in itself), and then provided with all kinds of allowance and position. Moreover, all these people are simultaneously transformed from producers to consumers. As a result, not only the military budget, but the economy as a whole is being hit hard. The longer the mobilization lasts, the harder it will be to hit the economy. And if at the same time the war does not start (most likely it will be so), even those reservists who come to the army of their own accord in order to defend their homeland will quickly begin to decay morally, this is an inevitable property of human psychology.
Saakashvili, starting his August adventure, was sincerely convinced that his army would easily defeat not only the Ossetian militiamen, but also the Russian Armed Forces. The current Ukrainian leadership is much more adequate, it is well aware that the real capabilities of the country's Armed Forces are almost zero. Therefore, mobilization is likely to quietly "shut up." And the tedious political and economic bargaining will begin.