Be Afraid, Russia: Ukraine's Military Is Becoming a Force to Reckoned With

Mark Episkopos

Mark Episkopos

Security,

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Be Afraid, Russia: Ukraine's Military Is Becoming a Force to Reckoned With

Ukraine and the Russian-backed, separatist forces of Donetsk and Luhansk remain locked in a shooting war that, since 2014, has claimed around thirteen thousand Ukrainian lives and displaced over two million more.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces entered the Donbass conflict in a decrepit state; in the words of Ukrainian General Viktor Muzhenko, as “an army in ruins.” Kiev was confronted with two principal challenges: Ukraine sold or decommissioned a great swathe of its vast, but aging, Soviet military inheritance over the 1990s and 2000s; and the Ukrainian army suffered from poor training, rampant corruption, and flagging morale.

With the assistance of U.S. and NATO military advisors, Ukraine has made significant strides in addressing the latter problem over the past several years; though much remains to be done, Ukraine’s army is slowly taking the shape of a centralized professional fighting force.

The same, however, cannot be said of Ukraine’s difficult path to military hardware modernization. Congress has so far approved two lethal aid packages to Ukraine, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expected to request further military aid at his upcoming summit with President Donald Trump.

What does Ukraine need, what is it asking for, and what has it gotten thus far? 

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