How has the APU since the beginning of the war in the Donbas: a view from Europe

Polish Centre for Eastern studies published an article in which the foreign experts on the basis of information from public sources has analysed the major changes that have occurred in the Armed forces of Ukraine starting from 2014. The article quotes the press service of the defense Ministry of Ukraine.

In an article titled “the Best army that ever was in Ukraine. Changes in the Armed forces of Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian aggression,” the researchers said that the war in the Donbass”, formed the Ukrainian army.”

The war in the Donbass, according to experts, the “intensified consciousness and gave motivation to the soldiers, and also forced the leadership of the Ministry of defence and the government of Ukraine to adapt the structure of the army – for the first time since its creation, to the real operational needs.”


Polish experts said that despite all of the problems in the Ukrainian Armed forces in 2017, largely composed of troops, “most of which were under fire and tempered by battle”.


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In APU there are “trained reserves, ready to mobilize in case of conflict”, and Ukrainian weapons, as noted by analysts, though it is not “the most modern or the newest, but the vast majority of it is now working without any failures”. In addition, analysts noted the high level of motivation of the Ukrainian army: “they are ready to protect the vital interests of the state.”

Photo: AFP

“Although they have no chance to win in a potential military confrontation with Russia, but they have a reason to fight. In 2014, when the territory of their country was occupied by foreign troops, the Armed forces of Ukraine could not give an adequate response. But the changes that have occurred since the beginning of the war in the Donbas, means that now Ukraine has the best army in its history”, – stated in the article.


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Experts drew attention to the fact that “the decision of Ukrainian authorities to counter Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine with use of military force led to the first significant increase in defense spending“. So, the budget of the Ministry of defense of Ukraine from 1% of GDP in 2013 increased to 2.5% of GDP in 2015 and 2016.

Meaningful reform

Reform recruitment into the Armed forces of Ukraine, and also the basis for “relatively well functioning” system of mobilization of the reserve forces should be considered, according to analysts, “on the one hand, as the biggest challenge and as a great achievement at that time.”

“Now the basis of acquisition of the Ukrainian army – the entry of citizens on military service under the contract. This contributed to a significant increase of salaries for the military under contract (as of 2016), which made service in the Armed forces one of the most attractive in the labor market”, – stated in the article.

Photo: press service of the defense Ministry

Analysts also noted the operational reserve of the Armed forces of Ukraine, which “is 130 thousand reservists who are well trained and have the experience of fighting in the Donbass”.

“Because of this, at least with regard to the human factor, if necessary, will be possible in a relatively short period of time to increase the level of combat readiness of the Ukrainian army and join the fighting with a comparable number of the enemy, the Armed forces of Ukraine was not able at the beginning of 2014,” – said the expert.


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As noted by the representatives of the Centre for Eastern studies, “the most significant change in the organization of the Armed forces of Ukraine caused by the conflict in the Donbas is increasing the number of units.”

Photo: Flickr, The Ministry Of Defense Of Ukraine

The article also noted the creation of Special operations Forces, “the new element in the structure of the Armed forces of Ukraine, which was formed in response to the modern nature of the conflict in the Donbas.”


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With regard to the training of troops, “not to mention that the Armed forces of Ukraine significantly increased the number of brigade tactical exercises, which till 2014 was not conducted at all“. The primary aim of such exercises is “synchronizing the actions of the servicemen on actual military service, reservists who are called to get ready.”

An important element of training of the Ukrainian army is support from the NATO, cooperation with foreign partners, said the Polish expert.

“Lithuanian-Polish-Ukrainian brigade (Litpolukrbrig) is also considered a element in ensuring combat training. She acquired operativo full capacity in January 2017. International exercises remain relevant to the overall level of training of the Ukrainian Armed forces,” – said the analysts.

Photo: archive