From ground troops to fighter jets, a look at the military capabilities of Russia and Ukraine

Despite military aid from the Western powers, the Ukrainian armed forces are significantly outnumbered – almost 5 to 1 – and less armed than the Russian forces.

On Thursday, Russian troops launched their planned attack on Ukraine. Large explosions were heard in Kiev, Kharkiv and Odessa as world leaders denounced the start of an invasion that could cause mass casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law, saying Russia was targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure. He urged Ukrainians to stay home and not panic.

As Russia digs deep into Ukraine, how does Ukraine’s military capabilities compare to Russia’s?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the size of the Ukrainian Defense Forces?

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies {IISS}, Ukraine has 196,600 active military personnel. The personnel is divided into 125,600 men on the ground, 35,000 men in the air and 15,000 men in the navy.

Ukraine also has 900,000 reservists, including paramilitary militias. However, their level of experience or training is a matter for everyone.

Most of Ukraine’s firepower is ground-based, with the country having over 2,000 tanks, 1,960 artillery pieces and 2,870 armored vehicles.

The troops also have around 400 surface-to-air missile launchers that could take out Russian aircraft and access lethal NATO aid, including 2,000 anti-tank weapons donated by the UK.

Archive image of members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces train, in Kharkiv, Ukraine. PA

Its air power consists of 146 attack aircraft and 42 attack helicopters.

Ukraine has only two warships.

Ukraine boasts of a defense budget of between $2 billion and $5 billion.

Size of Russian Defense Troops

The Russian army greatly exceeds that of Ukraine, with a budget of between 40 and 65 billion dollars.

The country led by Vladimir Putin has around 900,000 active soldiers and two million reservists.

Its active force includes 280,000 soldiers, 165,000 airmen and 150,000 sailors.

The Russian army has more than 13,000 tanks, just under 6,000 artillery pieces and almost 20,000 armored vehicles.

From ground troops to fighter jets, a look at Russia and Ukraine's military capabilities

The Russian army has more than 13,000 tanks. PA

It also has the added benefit of long-range armament – it has over 500 land-based ballistic missile launchers.

As for aircraft, the country has 1,328 attack aircraft and more than 470 attack helicopters.

At sea, its 74 warships and 51 submarines dwarf the small Ukrainian fleet.

Experience matters

Defense experts say it’s not just how many troops the two sides have that matters in this Ukraine-Russia conflict. The experience and training these troops have received also matters, they note.

Ukrainian forces have gained combat experience in the Donbass region in the east of the country, where they have been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014, and are highly motivated.

Additionally, most of the adult males received basic military training in Ukraine, which will only make it more difficult for Russia if they continue to hold onto their territory.

On the other hand, Russian military troops have also had a lot over the past decade due to their involvement in the civil war in Syria, where they supported Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

How is the West helping Ukraine?

Western powers have extended their aid to Ukraine.

Since 2014, the United States has provided more than $2.5 billion in military aid to Kiev, in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles, coastal patrol boats, Humvees, sniper rifles, reconnaissance drones, radar systems, night vision and radio equipment.

Besides the United States, Turkey has also sold several batches of Bayraktar TB2 drones to Kiev.

Press Agency Reuters reported that Britain supplied Ukraine with 2,000 short-range anti-tank missiles in January and sent British specialists to provide training. He also supplied Saxon armored vehicles.

Germany has ruled out arms deliveries to Ukraine but is co-funding a $6 million field hospital and providing training.

With contributions from agencies

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