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 The history of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

The history of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and declaration the independence in 1991, Ukraine inherited one of the most powerful Armed Forces in Europe, which equipped with nuclear weapon and modern types of typical armament and defense technology.

At that time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine included: rocket army, three armies of combined forces and two tank armies, one army corps, four Air Force armies, separate Air Defence army, the Black See fleet.

Altogether the Armed Forces of Ukraine included about 780.000 personnel, 6500 tanks, about 7000 combat armored vehicles, 1500 combat aircrafts, more than 350 ships, 1272 strategic nuclear war-heads of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 2500 tactical nuclear missiles. 

But at that time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were disconnected, and Ukraine had only separate parts from military structure of the Soviet Union after the dissolution

Therefore on 24 August 1991, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the resolution about the process of taking under its jurisdiction of all military units of former Soviet Armed Forces, situated on the territory of Ukraine; and about the establishment of one of the most important Ministries - the Ministry of Defense. 

Hence, our country became a leader among the former soviet republics from the point of view of the Armed Forces development. The Ukrainian government began to establish the Armed Forces and other military institutions.

The process of military organization and development in Ukraine can be divided into three main periods:

The first period began from 1991 till 1996 - the initial establishment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine;

The second period from 1997 till present time - further organization and development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine;

The third period from 2001 - reforming and development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The attributes of the first period were the forming the legal basis of the Armed Forces activity, reorganization of its structures, establishment of the corresponding executive structures and supporting structures, and other elements, which were necessary for its functioning.

Besides, the development of the Armed Forces was continued together with reduction of the military institutions, number of personnel, and number of armament and defense technology.

At the end of 1996, more then 3500 different military institutions and 410000 personnel were discharged. Also, the number of armament and defense technologies was decreased: combat aircrafts - by 600 units, helicopters - by 250, the fleet of tanks and combat armed vehicles by 2400 and 2000.

The political decisions of Ukraine authority on the non-nuclear and non-coalition state status were laid in foundation of the Armed Forces organization process. At the same time the limitations, connected with ratification of the Agreement "On conventional Armed Forces in Europe" and implementation of Tashkent Agreement of 1992, which establish not only maximal levels of arms for each state of former USSR, but also for "flank area", were taken into account. The "flank area" consisted of Mykolaiv, Kherson, Zaporijia regions and Republica of Crimea. 

In a short space of time, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted some legislative acts about military sphere: The conception for Defense and organization of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the resolution "On Security Council of Ukraine", Laws of Ukraine "On Defense of Ukraine", "On the Armed Forces of Ukraine", and Military Doctrine of Ukraine.

Also, the realization of nuclear weapon disarmament process of Ukraine was conducted at that year. It was one of the most significant historical events of twenty century. It was the first time, when the state voluntary refused from nuclear weapon. By 1 June 1996, there was no nuclear weapon in Ukraine. 

The national Armed Forces basics of independent state were laid in spite of different difficulties of that time. Ministry of Defense, the General Staff, branches of the Armed Forces, executive system and training system of the Armed Forces were established in a short space of time.

With time, it became clear that the process of the Armed Forces development had just began. And the point was not only that there was no special system and efficient plan for resolving the military development problems of that time, but also that it was lack of trained personnel for its development and realization.

The quick-change of military departments administration played bad role for the process of military development. Since 1991 till 1996, three Ministers of Defense and four Chiefs of General Staff were changed. About 70% of administrative staff was changed at the beginning of forming the Armed Forces of Ukraine. All military district commanders, army commanders, corps and division commanders were changed.

The problem solving was hard because of the difficulties, connected with international dislocation of military personnel. About 12000 officers were moved up from Ukraine to other countries and more than 33000 personnel came back to Ukraine since 1991 till 1994.

No doubt, that the main reason of dissatisfied implementation of the main procedures of the Armed Forces development process was permanent reduction of common part of expenses for National Defense at all; expenses for the Armed Forces, purchases of armament and military vehicles, providing the research engineering and design efforts. 

All these activities show that there is a necessity to develop the State program for the Armed Forces development. This program will be able not only to determine the priority ways of the Armed Forces development, but also to balance their tasks, structure and strength with potential military threats and challenges to National security of Ukraine and modern economical abilities of the state.


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