Russia & Ukraine: How Do Their Military Forces Fare Head-To-Head?

MVI analyses the military preparedness of Ukraine and Russia amid the simmering tensions.

Russia & Ukraine: How Do Their Military Forces Fare Head-To-Head?

Amid tensions between Ukraine and Russia, where as per the USA, a war-like situation gains a higher possibility, MVI analyses the head to head military preparedness of the two.

The Current Scenario

Russia has deployed more than 1,00,000 troops along the border with Ukraine with a “so called” intent to invade Ukraine. Although Moscow denies an attack, this has done little to ease fears.

A few days ago, over 8,500 NATO troops were kept on standby in America if the security situation in Europe deteriorates further or if NATO activates its Response Force.

On the other hand, About 35,000 Russian personnel are permanently stationed near Ukrainian territory. Apart from this, fighter jets and ships have been accelerated by NATO allies who have put forces on standby to bolster Europe’s eastern defences as tensions soar over Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine. Reports suggest that some newly arrived units have also travelled almost 4,000 miles from the Russian Far East.

Lately, it was announced by the state that Russian military forces and hardware have begun to arrive in ex-Soviet Belarus for joint drills starting in February for which military equipment, including armoured vehicles, tanks and rocket systems, travelling towards the area have been indicted by the images released online.

According to officials, the above-cited exercise shall take place near Belarus’s western rim, the borders of NATO members Poland and Lithuania, and its southern flank with Ukraine.

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Arms Support To Ukraine

With all that said, America is set to provide weapons support to Ukraine. Recently, the military assistance offered by the USA weighed vaguely 80 tons and included 300 Javelin missiles.

Having the capability of being locked on various targets such as bunkers and caves, armoured vehicles, etc., Javelins are anti-tank missiles that can be launched by a single person and can be used on various platforms due to their size. They can be used in all weather conditions and during daylight or night hours.

However, the Russian main battle tank, the T-14, which is based on the Armata Universal Combat Platform, the first series-produced next-generation tanks, has a well-protected armour that might put the Javelin missiles in vain.

The Afghanit active protection system (APS) used by the tanks includes a millimetre-wave radar to detect, track, and intercept incoming anti-tank munitions, both tandem charges and kinetic energy penetrators. Apart from this, the maximum speed of the interceptable target of the system is 1,700 m/s (Mach 5.0) which as per officials shall get increased to mach 8.8.

Further Moves By Russia

Russia’s build-up seems to increase with passing days. Now the advanced Su-35 fighter planes have also been announced by the state to be deployed to Belarus along with munitions, medical support and air-defence systems. Better to mention that two battalions of the S-400 surface-to-air missiles are also sent by Moscow to Belarus.

An equally noteworthy point stands as Russia holds worldwide naval drills this month, involving around 10,000 personnel, 140 ships and support vessels, and 60 aircraft. Other weapons, rocket launch systems, Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems and towed artillery have also been deployed in striking distance of Ukraine by Putin.

On their way to exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Six Russian Navy vessels capable of landing main battle tanks, personnel and armoured vehicles have already passed through the English Channel.

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Head To Head Military Comparison

Ranking in the top five nations to spend the most on their military, Russia has one of the most potent forces in the world.

As per various reports, around $61.7bn was sent by Moscow on its military back in 2020, which accounted for 11.4 percent of government spending. If we look at Ukraine, its total military spending was about $5.9bn, which was 8.8 percent of the government spending.

Backstage, apart from the anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles from Latvia and Lithuania are received by Ukraine, while the country is also using the Turkish-made Bayraktar drones for reconnaissance.

Ukraine has an active military of 209,000 personnel, while Moscow leads the race with 9,00,000 personnel. This is the exact count of Ukraine’s Reserves personnel, while Russia has around 20,00,000 forces in the category.

Even in terms of artillery, Russia stays ahead of Ukraine with 7,571 artillery while the latter is at 2,040. Russia is equipped with about 30,122 armoured vehicles, and Ukraine has 12,303 of those types.

Apparently, Moscow has 12,420 tanks with advanced capabilities, while Ukraine’s inventory provides it with 2,596 battle tanks, some of which do not compete with the Russian MBTs. Another significant aspect of the military forces, i.e. attack aircraft, is higher in Russia as it has around 1,511 while Ukraine equips just 98 of such aircraft. Also, 544 attack helicopters rest with Russia and 34 with Kyiv.

Russia Gets A Failed Response

After building up troops at the Ukraine border in December, NATO was called on to pull back its forces and weapons from Eastern Europe by Russia while it was also asked to permanently block Ukraine, a former Soviet state, from becoming a member.

As a written response to the above-cited demands, Washington repeated its commitment to upholding NATO’s “open-door” policy a few days back. Shortly after, NATO, which the we lead, said it had delivered its own reply “in parallel with the United States”.

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