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Ukraine's Military Power Vs Russia's Military Power

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The main difference between Ukraine's Military Power and Russia's Military Power is that Russia currently has around four times more soldiers than Ukraine, over six times as many fighter aircraft, and double the number of tanks. This huge imbalance in the two countries armed forces reflects their defense budgets. While Russia spends approximately 78 billion USD on its military forces per annum, Ukraine spends only 1.6 billion USD.

However, the difference in the two country's military power isn't limited to these only. There exist several differences which I'm going to uncover as the article proceeds. So, you better keep on reading. But before that, as usual, let's understand the military power of both countries a bit better.

What is Ukraine's Military Power?

ukraine soldiers
Ukrainian Armed Forces as the country celebrate Army Day in Kyiv

Ukraine's Armed Forces as the name suggests is nothing but the military forces of Ukraine. They're the primary obstruction force against any kind of attack against the sovereign state of Ukraine. Entire military and security forces, along with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, are under the administration of Ukraine's President and being watched by a constant Verkhovna Rada parliamentary commission. Its Armed Forces consist of the Ukrainian Navy, Ground Forces, Airmobile Forces, and Air Force. Moreover, the naval forces of Ukraine maintain their own Naval Aviation force and Naval Infantry force.

At present, Ukraine's armed forces consist of 250,000 (more precisely, 215,000 military personnel) and is the second-largest armed forces in Europe after Russia. In fact, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently ordered to boost the size of its military forces by one hundred thousand personnel by 2025.

What is Russia's Military Power?

russian soldiers
Russian Soldiers at a ceremony

The Russian Federation's armed forces (commonly called the Russian Armed Forces) are the military forces of the one of powerful nations, Russia. Like most country's military forces, Russia's armed forces are divided into the Navy Forces, Ground Forces, and Aerospace Forces. It also has two independent arms of service: the Airborne Troops and the Strategic Rocket Forces.

As per the federal law of Russia, its Armed Forces, as well as the Federal Protective Service (FSO), the National Guard, the FSB (Federal Security Service)'s Border Troops, the EMERCOM (Ministry of Emergency Situations)'s civil defense, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Main Directorate of the General Staff (GRU) are under the control of Russia's Security Council.

Differences Between Ukraine's Military Power and Russia's Military Power



Ukraine currently has around 196,000 active personnel in its military forces and 900,000 reservists. Moreover, recently the country started recruiting reservists aged between 18 and 60 years to defend their homeland against the Russian army. On the flip side, Russia has 900,000 military personnel and 2 million in reserve.

In terms of ground forces alone, Ukraine has 125,600 troops while Russia has 280,000 troops (twice the number of Ukraine's land force). Additionally, the number of personnel in Ukraine's air force is 35,000, whereas Russia has 165,000 air force personnel. That means the Russian air force is five times stronger than Ukraine.

Defense spending

The gap between Ukraine and Russia can be indicated by the amount of money these two countries spend on their defense systems. As per the IISS (International Institute for Strategic Studies)'s latest "The Military Balance" report, in 2021, Ukraine spent around 4.7 billion USD; on the other hand, Russia spent 45.8 billion USD on its nuclear-armed forces.

After a temporary war with Georgia, the Russian government launched a drive to modernize its armed forces in 2008, resulting in equipment shortfalls. In contrast, the weapons of Ukraine are largely from the Soviet era.

Weaponry and vehicles

When it comes to weaponry and fighter vehicles, there exists a lot to compare between Ukraine and Russia. From armored vehicles to attack aircraft, surface-to-air missiles to Navy aircraft, these two countries are different from each other in every sense. However, generally speaking, Russia has more of everything compared to Ukraine.

While Ukraine has 3,309 armored combat vehicles, Russia has over 15,857 army tanks. Additionally, talking about attack aircraft (including Navy aircraft, of course), Ukraine has 128, whereas Russia has 821 combat helicopters. Moreover, according to the report of IISS, Russia has 49 submarines while Ukraine has none.

Combat will

While Russian military forces are more powerful than Ukraine's military forces in every aspect, the combating will of the Ukrainian army is remarkable. Ukraine has launched some successful counterattacks against Russian troops. Although everyone thought the Russian army would defeat Ukraine in a fight of mere one or two days, Ukrainian fighter jets are still flying, and that's quite impressive.

Moreover, if Russia takes Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine) soon, it'll be difficult for Ukrainian soldiers to fight back. However, if it fails, the war could become lengthy. And that's where Ukraine's willpower may prove to be a powerful weapon against Russia.

Comparison Chart: Ukraine's Military Power Vs Russia's Military Power

FactorsUkraine’s Military PowerRussia’s Military Power
Manpower196,000 active personnel and 900,000 reservists900,000 military personnel and 2 million in reserve
Defense Spending4.7 billion USD45.8 billion USD
Weaponry and Vehicles3,309 armored combat vehicles, 128 combat helicopters15,857 armored combat vehicles, 821 combat helicopters, and 49 submarines

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Ukraine's military compare to Russia?

Ukraine and Russia are the two of the largest nations in Euro-Asia. These two neighboring countries were earlier parts of 15 Soviet republics that formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Ukraine became a separate nation and grew apart from Russia.

Russia has one of the largest and most powerful military forces globally. While Russia has 280,000 military personnel in land forces, Ukraine has 125,600. In addition, the Russian air force is five times more powerful than that of Ukraine. Comparing the mighty Russian military with Ukrainian armed forces is like putting fourth-gen computers and first-gen computers in one place.

How big is the Russian military?

Despite being one of the world's strongest military forces, Russian military forces in Ukraine continuously face an intense backlash from the Ukrainian forces and civilians in major cities like Kharkiv and Kyiv. With that being said, it's really important to know how big Russian military forces are.

According to the Military Balance 2022 report by the IISS, Russia's military count before the invasion in Ukraine stands at around 900,000 active personnel. Moreover, the report also estimated that Russia's military forces include approximately 948 helicopters, 16,000 military combat vehicles, and 1,391 aircraft. The country currently has a military spending budget of 45 billion USD compared to Ukraine's 4.7 billion USD.


That's all for now; I've mentioned almost all the key elements that separate Ukraine's military power from its Russian counterpart. No doubt, Russia is far more powerful than Ukraine especially when the armed forces are under consideration. The fact that Ukraine is giving tough competition to Russia in the current Ukraine-Russia scenario can’t be ignored.


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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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