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Ukraine Defense Doctrine

Kiev said it was going to sign security agreements with a number of unspecified countries to protect Ukraine's sovereignty, President Petro Poroshenko's press service said 04 November 2014. "The Cabinet of Ministers has also been given a month's time to thrash out an optimal model to guarantee Ukraine's security, including multilateral or bilateral international agreements between Ukraine and other countries to obtain security safeguards for Ukraine in order to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity," it said.

In the years immediately preceding the 2014 Russian aggression, starting from the abandonment of integration with NATO and the restoration of neutral status to Ukraine (in July 2010), the Ukrainian armed forces were de facto in a state of collapse.

The reform program Strategy 2020 provided that Ukraine should become "a military state," increasing its military expenditures from 1 percent of the GDP to 5 percent, Dmytro Shimkiv, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said 29 September 2014. "We are operating under the assumption that Ukraine should become a military state," he said at a public debate on Strategy 2020 in Kiev. The reform program envisions an increase of military funding from 1 percent of the GDP in 2014 to 5 percent in 2020. The reforms also envision an increase in the number of servicemen in Ukraine from 2.8 people to 7 people per 1,000 people, he said. Shimkiv also said the defense and national security reform is a key reform envisioned by the program Strategy 2020.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk presented the Action Plan "Recovery of Ukraine”at a Government meeting on 03 September 2014. Yatsenyuk stressed that Ukraine needs a new military doctrine with “a clear definition of who is the aggressor and who poses the threat": "In the new defense doctrine Russia should be recognized as an aggressor state, the only state which threatens the territorial integrity and national security of Ukraine".

"The billions sent by us for the army’s needs should provide the military with new equipment and should be applied by the Defense Department as soon as possible... "There were no real Armed Forces, when the Government came to power, neither regular troops nor efficient machinery, nor National Guard. Throughout recent six months we have restored combat readiness of the Ukrainian army, created the National Guard, threefold increased funding, improved salaries. And the whole Ukrainian economy of today works for army’s needs, [to provide with –ed.] equipment, weapons, fighting against Russian gangsters and terrorists," said the Head of Government.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that as part of the cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, it is plans to raise the country's defense sector to the level of the alliance and modernize the Ukrainian Armed Forces. "It is exactly for the Ukrainian people to decide and the Ukrainian political leadership to decide how to develop its future relationship with NATO," he said after a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Newport (Wales) on 04 September 2014.

The task of rearming the Ukrainian Armed Forces is currently on the agenda, Interim Ukrainian President and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Turchynov said at a briefing in the village of Desna on 02 April 2014, where he visited a military training ground. "In a short time the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be put on full combat alert, and the task of rearming the Armed Forces is currently on the agenda," the presidential press service quoted Turchynov as saying. He said that the military-industrial complex, "which will revive and receive state orders," could ensure a complete closed cycle of production.

He said that despite the very difficult economic situation, the government would allocate funds not only for the army, but also for rearmament. "This is a strategic task that must be fulfilled... Ukraine faced serious problems in the Armed Forces, we are currently restoring the army actually from a new mark," he said. The combat capabilities of Ukrainian weapons were demonstrated at the firing ground, as well as promising samples that are to be transferred to the arsenal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in particular, small arms, means of protection, communications, ammunition, and weapons of destruction. The exercises on testing the running and fighting capabilities of military equipment were also conducted.

Under defense reform legislation passed in 2004, Ukraine strengthened civilian control of the military, professionalizing its non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps, modernizing force structure to improve interoperability with NATO, and reducing troop numbers, all with an eye toward NATO standards. Current force levels are approximately 350,000 (plus 90,000 civilian workers in the Ministry of Defense), with the goal of further reductions to around 200,000 by 2005.

Ukraine's stated national policy for a time was Euro-Atlantic integration, including with both NATO and the European Union, though explicit mention of aspiration to NATO membership was removed from official military doctrine in July 2004. Ukraine has a Distinctive Partnership with NATO, signed an agreement with NATO on using Ukraine's strategic airlift capabilities, and has been an active participant in Partnership for Peace exercises, in Balkans peacekeeping, and Coalition forces in Iraq. Ukrainian units have been serving in the U.S. sector in Kosovo, and in the Polish-led division in Iraq.

In March 2006 the President of Ukraine – Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces – approved The Strategic Concept of Employment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (hereinafter The Strategic Concept). This document, based on an analysis of the entire spectrum of possible military threats to Ukraine, defined seven scenarios and, accordingly, seven typical situations of the employment of the Armed Forces, ranging from large-scale employments (border blocking in case of a conflict or a defensive operation) to those of a much lesser scale and intensity (participation in a counter-terrorist operation, disaster relief operations, etc.). For each possible situation an optimal set of forces and means needed to accomplish the mission was defined.

On the basis of The Strategic Concept, the Minister of Defence approved The Strategic Plan of Employment of the Armed Forces (hereinafter The Strategic Plan), which correlates the defined missions with the process of the Armed Forces development and takes into account economic and mobilization capabilities of the State. The Strategic Plan estimates quantitative parameters of forces and means necessary to ensure the military security of the State under modern conditions, taking into consideration scales and dynamics of modern threats.

According to The Strategic Plan, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of the General Staff – Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces – personally approved combat formations and unit mission statements, which would remain in the combat structure after 2011. This was the first time in the history of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that such planning was carried out for each separate brigade.

The State Programme of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Development for 2006-2011 (The State Programme) was accomplished in 2011. The Armed Forces’ development in the framework of the State Programme was financed by the amount of UAH 55.5 billion (75.6% of the planned budget), that enabled its implementation in full. Overall, during the period 2006-2011 the Armed Forces’ structure was improved, the strength was reduced, the Land Forces’ Rapid Reaction Corps was formed, the military education system, personnel and medical systems were reformed, and an international military cooperation sphere was extended.

Taking into consideration the non-bloc status policy selected by Ukraine, adjustments to the State Programme’s measures conditioned by the non-integration of our state into the collective security system were introduced. Reorganisation of the Armed Services’ Commands into the Armed Services’ Headquarters, the Support Forces Command into Support Forces Formation and the suspension of the Operational Command Directorates’ disbandment. The Joint Operational Command was disestablished since the non-bloc status of the state required concentration of efforts on defending the national territory by its own forces. Meanwhile, it is foreseen to create two Operational Commands (“South” and “West”) functioning as combined arms command and control bodies.

The main event of 2010 that had a decisive impact on the security situation was the announcement of Non-Bloc status by Ukraine1 that foresaw, in particular, full participation of Ukraine in common European and regional collective security systems, membership in the European Union while maintaining good neighbourly relations and strategic partnership with the Russian Federation, other CIS and world countries. The Law of Ukraine “On Principles of National and Foreign Policy” clarifies the order of the Armed Forces engagement, particularly: only in cases of armed aggression against Ukraine, other armed attacks on its territorial integrity and inviolability of state borders; combating international terrorism and piracy; other cases stipulated by international treaties of Ukraine and ratified by the Verkhovna Rada.

The implementation of the long-term outline of the Armed Forces was to be carried out in three stages:

  1. First Stage (2011-2015) – to stabilize the situation in the Forces, maintain opportunities to renovate the combat effectiveness of the Armed Forces, support the minimum required capabilities to prevent, localize and neutralize armed conflict, contribute to disaster-relief assistance and participate in peacekeeping operations. The first stage measures are elaborated in the Concept of Further Reform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for 2011-2015;
  2. Second Stage (2016-2020) – to renew operational capabilities of the Armed Forces and start their sustained development. The units of the Armed Forces in cooperation with other components of the Security and Defence Forces should be ready to carry out specific tasks at the end of this stage;
  3. Third Stage (2021-2025) – to achieve the main quality standards of the new structure of the Armed Forces, provide them with modern weapons and equipment, increase the level of units’ training, and create material stocks.

The non-governmental Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (CACDS) published in April 2012 a defense policy report that examines a yet-unreleased Defense Ministry draft proposal " ‘Concept for Armed Forces’ Reform and Development through 2017" for Armed Forces’ reform and development. According to the CACDS report, the Ministry is considering drastic force reductions, from the current 192,000 military and civilian personnel to 100,000 (85,000 military and 15,000 civilian) by the end of 2014 and 85,000 (70,000 military and 15,000 civilians) by the end of 2017. The draft reform concept also call for a complete transition from a conscription model to a professional contract-based force by 2017. These radical personnel cuts, combined with an increase in the defense budget to approximately 1.4% of GDP, would bring per capita spending on military personal to the level of EU countries. The military reforms will also include development of rapid reaction forces, airmobile brigades, mountain infantry, and military training centers equipped with modern and advanced simulation infrastructure. The reforms will cost 155 bln UAH ($19.4 bln) over period, which is an additional 40.3 bln UAH ($5.0 bln) over current financial projections.

Ukraine’s President approved a new Military Doctrine and National Security Strategy in June 2012. This represented a substantial step toward clarify national security policy, following over a year of delays in the reviewing process. While confirming Ukraine’s nuclear-free and non-aligned status, these documents demonstrate the continuing strong influence of a Ukrainian strategic expert community that shares fundamental values and approaches with colleagues in Western democracies.

A major theme of the new Military Doctrine is the assessment of the nature and risks of military conflict and the potential sources and manifestations of such conflict as a threat to Ukraine's national security. The new doctrine includes an increased emphasis on conflict prevention, non-first use of military force, proportional response, and compliance with the norms of international law as well as the more traditional measures for the development of defense capacity and conduct of national defense. Of note, several sections address possible threats emanating from the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) including: (a) the redeployment of foreign forces stationed by agreement on Ukrainian territory without notification of the Ukrainian authorities and (b) the use of such forces against third parties. Under these criteria, a repetition of the 2008 deployment of BSF forces to the Russia-Georgia War could be considered as constituting a military threat to Ukraine, presumably by exposing it to the possibility of being declared a co-belligerent.

The updated National Security Strategy (NSS) focuses security policy on creating an enabling environment to protect the interests of citizens, society and state as well as to further promote Ukraine as a democratic country with a growing market economy. The NSS openly identifies politically sensitive security risks, including:

  • The unresolved conflict in the Transnistrian region of Moldova and the unresolved delimitation and demarcation of the state border;
  • Unresolved issues related to the Russian BSF and the inadequate legal framework for regulating the BSF’s presence on Ukrainian territory;
  • An inadequate policy and regulatory system to manage migration, including immigration, integration, and protection of rights and interests for Ukrainian citizens working abroad;
  • Vulnerability of the domestic market to foreign economic conditions, continuing dependence on external sources of energy and the lack of effective mechanisms to ensure fair competition in the internal market (i.e. the lack of anti-trust).

Ukrainian experts particularly noted a section of the NSS which clearly states that Ukraine does not intend to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and will support international efforts aimed "against the intentions to legitimize the status of the self-proclaimed entities on the territory of countries of the region…"

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Page last modified: 08-03-2022 19:06:57 ZULU