Ukraine’s military ranked as 30th most powerful in the world

24 August 2016, Kyiv, Military parade devoted to the Independence Day Photo: Euromaidan Press 


Ukraine has the 30th most powerful military in the world, according to the Military Strength Ranking for 2017 published by Global Firepower. The analysis is considered to be one of the most reliable in the world.

In 2017, 132 countries were listed. Ukraine was placed at the same place for the second year in a row, between Sweden (above) and Czech Republic (below).

And this is the top 10:


World countries with the most powerful military, 2017

In the ranking of European countries, Ukraine is #9:


European countries with the most powerful military, 2017

The finalized ranking relies on over 50 factors to determine a given nation’s Power Index score. The analysis does not take into consideration nuclear power and the current political leadership. But it considers geographical features of the state, production and consumption of resources and other factors. The list is compiled under the auspices of the British University of St Andrews.

Despite Ukraine having being forced to drastically boost its army and military expenditures after Russia’s occupation of Crimea and the start of the covert war in Donbas in 2014, the country fell in this ranking compared to 2014, when it was #21, and in 2015, when it was #25. The reason for this is the loss of military equipment in the occupation of Crimea and loss of control over Donbas. Prior to the loss of control over Donbas, the Ukrainian army had 4,112 tanks, according to Global Firepower. Now it has 2,449, placing it in 11th place for this parameter globally.

Number of tanks, 2017

Top countries by number of tanks, 2017

Ukraine also fares well when it comes to other forms of land war equipment. Its global rank for Armored Fighting Vehicles and Infantry Fighting is  Vehicles is #6, it’s also #6 when it comes to self-propelled artillery and stands at #10 in terms of rocket projectors.

According to Global Firepower, Ukraine lost nearly half of its aviation fleet from Russian aggression. In 2014, there were 400 aviation units; in 2015, there were only 222. Most of them were left in occupied Crimea; over 20 airplanes and helicopters were shot down over Donbas. This year, the number rose to 238.

Ukraine is also disadvantaged when it comes to the defense budget. The three-fold devaluation of the hryvnia has negated the record expenditures of the country on its defense: in 2016, 5% of the state budget was directed at the military sphere, ranking it among the world’s top countries with relative expenditures. However, in absolute terms that places Ukraine at only #40, according to Global Firepower. The USA and China traditionally rank 1st and 2nd:

Annual defense budgets, 2017

Annual defense budgets, 2017

The details of the analysis

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  1. Avatar Murf says:

    These rankings are based on hard numbers.
    So I would not put a huge stock in Ukraine pre war rankings.
    The prewar army could not put 4000+ tanks in the field if their lives depended on it. Because it did and they didn’t.
    Nor could the Air Force get 400 air frames in the sky.
    Nor did virtually anyone had any real combat experience since Afghanistan and a few peace keeping missions.
    Now Ukraine has the most conventional battle experienced Army in Europe.
    Training has improved.
    The air force was in such disrepair that the planes in Crimea were captured because they could not take off and the Demonstration team had to be pressed into front line service.
    Old Soviet doctrine is giving way to more modern methods(Even Russia has scaled them back) while the machines are better maintained. 600 battle ready tanks are far more effective than 4000 rusting hulls.
    Even the navy is getting newer ships. Work has recommenced on the modern Corvette Voldomyir the Great and she should be ready in 2019, She will have at least three sister ships. Plus 6 LAN missile boats.
    The author mentions the budget has not increased in real monetary terms but none of this was being taken care of before 2014.
    Even the Air Force numbers are deceiving. The newly refurbished planes have modern radars,targeting at night and avionics, while pilot stick time has also increased. Which means greater real combat power,

    Nor are several of the higher ranked Armies in as good a shape as they seem.
    In 2914 the Mighty Bundeswehr was only 50% combat ready. When the NATO Rapid Reaction force first assembled, the German contingent only had black painted broom sticks.
    That had to hurt.

    So take this ranking system with a grain of salt

    1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

      Very well stated, Murf. The size of an army (regardless of its branches) and the amount of equipment that an army possesses does not necessarily reflect on its effectiveness in any combat situation. As such, many more variables other than numbers must be taken into account. A few examples should include the following: 1) The preference of a professional army over an army composed of conscripts, 2) The overall morale/intense desire to win of an army, 3) The need for the most modern tools/equipment and technology in fighting in any conflict, 3) The best training possible in modern warfare and especially among the Officer Corps (Note: Superior training coupled with live experience in actual warfare should be considered as an advantage), 4) Powerful support from the Government and the general public coupled with proper financing for the army along with reasonable expectations from everyone, 5) Strong discipline must be maintained but never at the cost of abusing military personnel, and 6) The absolute need for a well organized and effective corps involved in support services such as medical professionals, the chaplaincy, etcetera. Fortunately, the Government of Ukraine has started this arduous process such as bringing in experts and receiving aid from many Western countries but it will take time to achieve full fruition. Apart from this, it should also be noted that Pompous Putin does not appear to share the same intensity of interests as noted above. This in turn should prove to be a significant advantage for Ukraine as long as it stays on course.

    2. Avatar Mick Servian says:

      Turkey has the best standing army in Europe.
      Ukraine has Soviet stuff it couldn’t maintain. Plus small handouts given.

      1. Avatar Murf says:

        That’s subject to debate.

        1. Avatar Mick Servian says:

          To what debate?
          Who compares?

  2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    RuSSia’s ranking as number 2 is completely at odds with its dismal economic performance. Which makes one wonder for how much longer RuSSia can continue to maintain its present and oversized military footprint. RuSSia is sinking. Putin is an emperor with no clothes. China is a different matter.

    1. Avatar Mick Servian says:

      “The russia must be forced to denuke itself”….lol
      The ramblings of a racist gronk.

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        Really, ratsucker?

        1. Avatar Mick Servian says:

          Why don’t Ukraine disarm?

          1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            Ukraine is bonne stomp Putin’s a s s, that’s why, ratboy.

  3. Avatar Victor Victory says:

    Ukraine used to be Europe’s top military force but Yano the putin puppet fûcked it all up.

    1. Avatar veth says:

      Police detain Major General of Donetsk People’s Republic
      Chieftain of the Russia-backed militants aimed to Berdyansk to visit his friend

      23:34, 3 July 2017

      National police in Donetsk region
      The police of Volnovaha detained the so-called chieftain of the regional Cossacks union at the checkpoint in Donetsk Region. The press service of the police of the Donetsk Region reported this.

      ‘It was defined that it is the acting Major General of the regional Cossack union of Donetsk People’s Republic. He said that he began to head the regiment in 2011 and it contained 90 Cossacks. The occupants invade his city in 2014 and Cossacks joined the terrorists’, the message says.

      This man aimed to Berdyansk to visit his friend.