Advantage Ukraine Or Russia? Let’s Compare Their Military Strength

27 Feb, 2022 18:58 IST|Sakshi Post
Image Credit: Ukrainian forces responding to Russian fire. (Twitter/@oleksiireznikov)

As European countries like Sweden and Germany who are preparing to shut airspace to Russian flights and tonnes of humanitarian aid pouring into Ukraine from Israel, Russia warned any kind of financial or other assistance to a foreign state or international organisation aimed against Russia’s security could be termed as treason.

While imploring the Western governments to do more than impose sanctions, Ukraine's defiant president Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia should be removed from the United Nations Security Council. Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council giving it veto power over resolutions. In the meantime, the Ukrainian president has also petitioned the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Russia for invading his country.

As Russian forces are bombarding Ukraine for the last three days and there are fears that its capital Kyiv could fall within days. According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry, at least 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed and over 1000 others have been wounded during Russia’s bombing since Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Ukraine said that more than 1,000 Russian soldiers had been killed, a claim the Russian Defence Ministry has so far not responded yet. 

As the Russian forces have entered Ukraine's second city Kharkiv on Sunday, let's take a look at how the military capabilities of these nations stack up. Remember that Russia has been ranked the second most powerful country militarily among the 140 nations. The defence spending by the two nations gives an indication of their military might. As per the report by International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)  published last week, Ukraine spent $4.7 billion in 2021 which is just over a tenth of Russia’s $45.8 billion. 

According to Global Firepower 2022, Russia has 8,50,000 active personnel in its armed forces against Ukraine’s 2,00,000. In terms of paramilitary forces strength, Russia has 2,50,000 paramilitary personnel against Ukraine’s 50,000. And, as per International Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia has 2 million in reserve while Ukraine has 9,00,000. Sources say Ukraine on Wednesday began conscripting reservists aged 18-60. 

Russia outnumbers Ukraine on other parameters including its land forces. Russia has 2,80,00 troops while Ukraine has only 1,25,000. While its air force is five times as strong with 1,65,000 to Ukraine’s 35,000. Ukraine only has 2,596 tanks and 12,303 armoured vehicles compared with 12,420 tanks and 30,122 armoured vehicles of Russia. Sources say an estimated 2,00,00 Russian troops are currently engaged in the battle in and around Ukraine. 

Generally speaking, Russia has more of everything - attack aircraft, armoured vehicles, surface-to-surface missiles. Russia’s fighter aircraft are over 10 times higher than that of Ukraine. It has 772 fighter aircraft against Ukraine's 69 while Ukraine has 34 attack helicopters as compared with Russia’s 544. The total aircraft strength of Russia is at 4,173, while that for Ukraine is 318. According to IISS, where Russia has 51 submarines, Ukraine has none. 

At sea, Russia’s 74 warships and 51 submarines dwarf Ukraine’s tiny fleet. Russia also has the advantage of long-range weaponry. It has over 500 land-based ballistic missile launchers and over 1,300 attack planes. Due to Ukraine’s economic problems since 2014, its military is facing modernization issues which will be helpful to detect enemy artillery and stand some chance of suppressing it with their own.

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