National Guard of Ukraine

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National Guard of Ukraine
Національна гвардія України
Patch of the National Guard
Patch of the National Guard
Emblem of the National Guard
Emblem of the National Guard
Badge of the National Guard
Badge of the National Guard
MottoЧесть, Мужність, Закон
Honor, Courage, Law
Agency overview
FormedMarch 13, 2014[1]
Preceding agency
Employees60,000 (2022)[2]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionUkraine
Constituting instrument
  • Law on the National Guard of Ukraine, 2014[1]
General nature
Operational structure
Agency executive
Parent agencyMinistry of Internal Affairs
Significant operations

The National Guard of Ukraine (NGU; Ukrainian: Націона́льна гва́рдія Украї́ни, romanizedNatsionalna hvardiia Ukrainy, IPA: [nɐt͡s⁽ʲ⁾ioˈnɑlʲnɐ ˈɦʋɑrd⁽ʲ⁾ijɐ ʊkrɐˈjinɪ], abbr. НГУ) is the Ukrainian national gendarmerie and internal military force. It is part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, responsible for public security. Originally created as an agency under the direct control of the Verkhovna Rada on 4 November 1991, following Ukrainian independence. It was later disbanded and merged into the Internal Troops of Ukraine on 11 January 2000 by then-President Leonid Kuchma as part of a "cost-saving" scheme. Following the early 2014 Ukrainian revolution on 13 March 2014, amidst the Russian intervention, the National Guard was reestablished, and the Internal Troops were disbanded.[1]

The objective of the National Guard is to serve as a military unit with law enforcement powers. Its mission is to ensure state security, protect the state borders (supporting the State Border Service), participate in activities to neutralize paramilitary armed groups, terrorist organizations, organized groups and criminal organizations, protecting and guarding critical infrastructure such as Ukraine's nuclear power plants, as well as diplomatic missions, public authorities and buildings of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.[6] The NGU has sent personnel to UN peacekeeping missions.[7] During peacetime the National Guard focuses on civilian public security: combating organized crime and controlling civil unrest.[1] However, during wartime the National Guard can be mobilized as a regular military force and take part in combat operations alongside the Armed Forces of Ukraine,[1] which has been done during the War in Donbas[8] and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[9]


Original formation

The NSU was originally created by the Law of Ukraine "On the National Guard of Ukraine" dated 4 November 1991, No. 1775 -XII. The National Guard was based on the Internal Troops of the Soviet Union in the Ukrainian SSR, the Internal Troops of Ukraine also was established at the same time in 1992 from the Ukrainian branch of the old Soviet Internal Troops.[10] The National Guard claimed to inherit the traditions and legacy of the Gendarmerie of the Ukrainian People's Republic, which existed from 1918 to 1919.[11]

During its early existence, the National Guard was indirectly involved in the Transnistria War during the spring and summer of 1992, helping to defend the border against a threatened spill-over of the conflict into Ukraine. Formations involved were the 3rd, 4th and 5th divisions NGU (equipment transferred from the 93rd Motorized Rifle Division was also used in this deployment). Afterwards, up until 1998, National Guard units backed up the border guards in anti-smuggling operations conducted on the border with Moldova and Moldova's breakaway Transnistria region. In 1994, the National Guard was also involved in the 1992-1994 Crimean Crisis, which was an attempted by the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to declare itself sovereign after the 1991 Crimean sovereignty referendum. The National Guard was sent to restore order and Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea.[12]

On 1995, there were already calls for the dissolution of the National Guard by political opponents of the then-president Leonid Kuchma accused him of dictatorial behavior after he resubordinated the guard to himself by decree. After Kuchma's re-election after the 1999 Ukrainian presidential election, the opposition continued to demand the extinction of the National Guard, which was done in 2000 as part of concession to the opposition by Kuchma and justified as part of a "cost-saving scheme".[13]

The National Guard was dissolved by the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine" dated 11 January 2000, and merged with the Internal Troops of Ukraine.[1]

Badges of the NGU 1991–2000


Soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine in 2022.

In 2014, amidst Russian intervention to Crimea, the reformed force was created partially on the basis of the Internal Troops of Ukraine, with plans for the "Volunteer Battalions", militias and armed wings from certain of Ukraine's political parties and organisations, including the Euromaidan movement, to be also incorporated into it. However those plans have run into resistance from at least some of the latter, who do not wish to give up their weapons or otherwise subordinate themselves to government control.[14] Direct recruitment from military academies was also intended.[15] The National Guard was recreated in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On the National Guard of Ukraine" [Law number 4393] dated 12 March 2014,[1] (the draft legislation being originally introduced to the Ukrainian parliament on 11 March). A previous attempt by then President Yushchenko to bring back the National Guard during civil unrest in 2008 had been blocked in the Rada. It was finally re-established in March 2014 after the beginning of the Crimean crisis.[16] On 16 March, the Yatsenyuk Government announced plans to recruit 10,000 people within the next 15 days for the by now revived National Guard.[17] Individual volunteers were also accepted.

National Guard K-9 unit at the JFO zone, 2019.

The 2014 law provided for an initial authorised strength of 33,000 personnel. It also tasks the National Guard with maintaining public order, protecting sites like nuclear power plants and "upholding the constitutional order and restoring the activity of state bodies",[18] in part a reference to the situation in Crimea, as well as to the perceived Russian threat to Ukraine as a whole. In the eastern parts of the country in particular, not only will the National Guard reinforce regular military units defending against a feared Russian invasion, it will also be expected to uphold Part 1 of Art. 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine [a] (i.e. it is intended to act as a counterinsurgency force against fifth columnists and infiltrators).

The National Guard will be receiving a large proportion of the money from the emergency budgetary reprogramming approved by parliament for the funding of weapons procurement, equipment repair, and training (said reprogramming is equivalent to $600 million in 2014 Dollars).[19] It is hoped that, eventually, the strength of the National Guard will rise to 60,000 personnel. The pay for National Guard regulars is approximately 214 Euros ($297) a month, equivalent to an average Ukrainian's monthly income. Officers receive about twice that amount.[14] There are also some attached Internal Troops personnel, mostly for training and/or logistical support purposes, e.g. K-9 teams that have been taking part in training and demonstration sessions.

Female soldier of the NGU at a security checkpoint

During the ongoing war in the Donbas region of Ukraine, the forces of the revived National Guard have fought against pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops disguised as separatists. Due to lack of reserves, earlier in the conflict willing civilians and political groups created their own militias and paramilitary groups, known as the "Volunteer Battalions", to fight the separatists on their own.[20] The Battalions were credited to have held the line against the separatists and allowed the National Guard and the Armed Forces to reorganize and strike back. Some of the Battalions were placed under the aegis of the Ministry of Internal Affairs[20] Two of them were the Azov and Donbas battalions, which were the largest volunteer units by far with a strength of 1,000 and 900 soldiers. Due the size and operational success of those Battalions, they were transferred to be under the command of the National Guard.[21][22][23][24]

On May, the National Guard saw one of its first combat operations at the First Battle of Mariupol, where they clashed with pro-Russia militants and demonstrators during the unrest in Mariupol. They first attempted to occupy several government buildings before they were routed by National Guard riot troops, but soon the unrest envolved into heavy fighting between government and separatist militia forces.[25][26] Around the same time on May, separatist troops captured the terminal buildings of Donetsk International Airport, the National Guard circled the separatist forces, issuing an ultimatum demanding the surrender of the separatists — which was denied — and the paratroopers launched an assault on the airport. The incident became known as the First Battle of Donetsk Airport.[27] On early June, a Border Guard base and a National Guard were besieged in Luhansk and after 10 hours of battle the base fell after the guardsmen ran out of ammunition.[28]

On October 13, several National Guards troops protested outside the Ukrainian presidential administration building in Kyiv, they demanded the end of conscription, and their own demobilisation. According to Kyiv Post, many of the protesters were former Internal Troops who had clashed with Euromaidan protesters, and that they were not in favour of that movement or the new government.[29]

Three National Guardsmen died in a riot on 31 August 2015 at the Verkhovna Rada when a policeman on leave threw a grenade outside the facade.[30]

According to official figures, by mid-April 2016, the Interior Ministry and the National Guard have lost 308 personnel since the war in Donbas broke out, including 108 from the National Guard's volunteer battalions.[31]

Russo-Ukrainian War

Beginning Thursday, 24 February 2022, the day the Russian Armed Forces invaded Ukraine,[9] the NGU has been active in many of the land battles fought by Ukrainian forces during the current war.

In the first day of the war, the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) attempted an Air Assault at the Antonov Airport in Hostomel, northwest Kyiv, in order to do an air lift and bring more troops and heavier equipment to the capital in a military engagement that became known as the Battle of Antonov Airport. In the initial phases of the assault, the VDV expelled a small garrison of the National Guard and took control of the airport. However, the 4th Rapid Reaction Brigade of the Ukrainian National Guard swiftly reacted by launching an extensive counter-attack, using armored vehicles and artillery, that encircling the unsupported Russian troops and repelled the attack.[32] The Airport was captured in the next day, but the actions of the 4th Brigade were credited to have prevented the quick capitulation of Kyiv,[33] and led to the Russian Offensive on Kyiv stalling and eventually withdrawing.[33]

169 National Guard troops were captured after the Battle of Chernobyl. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that "Currently, control over the situation at the Chernobyl NPP is being exercised jointly by Russian servicemen, Ukrainian specialists, the plant’s civilian personnel, and that country’s National Guard".[34] But later reports indicated they were captured and locked in a bunker for 30 days.[35] On 6 April, the Ukrainians officially announced the National Guard had retaken and reestablished control over the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.[36]

The Azov Regiment was heavily involved in the Siege of Mariupol, being one of the primary defenders of the city.[37] The other units of the National Guard defending the city were the 23rd Separate Protection of Public Order Brigade [ru; uk] 12th Operational Brigade [ru; uk].[38] The Azov's origins as a neonazi and ultranationalist militia, and its legitimization by the Ukrainian government and inclusion in the official structure of the National Guard has been a point of contention. It has been used by Russia to paint the Ukrainian government as Nazi-leaning, as justification for the brutality in Mariupol and as a casus belli for the invasion itself.[39]

National Guard structure

National Guard Operational-Territorial Commands
  Western Operational-Territorial Command
  Northern Operational-Territorial Command
  Central Operational-Territorial Command
  Eastern Operational-Territorial Command
  Southern Operational-Territorial Command
  Crimea Operational-Territorial Command

As of 2017 the National Guard is divided in five Operational-Territorial Commands:

  • Western Operational-Territorial Command
  • Northern Operational-Territorial Command
  • Central Operational-Territorial Command
  • Eastern Operational-Territorial Command
  • Southern Operational-Territorial Command

A sixth Operational-Territorial Command for Crimea has been organized only on paper until the peninsula is returned by Russia to Ukraine (currently the Crimean units are under the National Guard of Russia).

There are various types of units in the National Guard:

  • Operational units are military trained and equipped combat forces.
  • Public Security Protection and Patrol units fulfil police functions
  • Transport units guard troop and prisoner convoys
  • Important State Facilities Protection units guard Ukrainian state enterprises involved in missile industry, and Ukraine's nuclear industry
  • Independent National Guard units contain a mix of operational, patrol and transport units

In case that martial law would be declared all National Guard units, with the exception of the units tasked with guard and convoy of individuals taken into custody and the units tasked with diplomatic security of embassies and consulates, would come under the command of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine as auxiliary to the Armed Forces proper.[40] This was applied for the first time during the 2022 Russian invasion when martial law was put in place in the country.

Directly subordinated units

Soldiers of the National Guard (bottom left) fire at targets while trained by American paratroopers (upper right) of the U.S Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade during the 2015 Fearless Guardian exercise.

Western Operational-Territorial Command

The Western Operational-Territorial Command, headquartered in Lviv, covers the oblasts of Lviv, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Khmelnytskyi, Rivne, Ternopil, Vinnytsia, Volyn and Zakarpattia.

  • Western Operational-Territorial Command, Lviv
    • 2nd National Guard Brigade "Halychyna", Lviv
      • 1st Infantry Battalion, Lviv
      • 2nd Infantry Battalion, Ternopil
      • 3rd Infantry Battalion, Rivne
      • 4th Infantry Battalion, Uzhhorod
      • Support Units, Lviv
    • 8th Operational Regiment "Jaguar", Kalynivka
      • 1st Operational Battalion
      • 2nd Operational Battalion
      • 3rd Operational Battalion
    • Soldiers from the Ukrainian National Guard's 3029th Regiment conduct checkpoint operations
      40th National Guard Regiment, Vinnytsia
    • 45th Operational Regiment, Lviv
      • 1st Operational Battalion
      • 2nd Operational Battalion
      • 3rd Operational Battalion
    • 50th National Guard Regiment, Ivano-Frankivsk
      • 3rd Patrol Company, Kalush
      • 4th Operational Battalion "Kruk", Ivano-Frankivsk
      • 5th Infantry Company, Chernivtsi
      • Mountain Patrol Company
    • 13th National Guard Battalion, Khmelnitsky
    • 32nd National Guard Battalion, Lutsk
    • Medical Company (Reserve)
    • Spetsnaz Detachment "Vega", Lviv
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle Group
    • Training Center, Staryi Lysets
      • Training Battalion

Northern Operational-Territorial Command

The Northern Operational-Territorial Command, headquartered in Kyiv, covers the city of Kyiv and the oblasts of Kyiv, Cherkasy, Chernihiv and Zhytomyr, forming parts of the forces that fought Russia in the current war in its area of operations.

  • KrAZ Cougar Infantry mobility vehicle of the National Guard provides cover to infantry during an exercise.
    Northern Operational-Territorial Command, Kyiv
    • 1st Operational Brigade, Vyshhorod
      • Brigade HQ and HQ Company
      • 1st Operational Battalion
      • 2nd Operational Battalion
      • 3rd Operational Battalion
      • Tank Battalion
      • Artillery Battalion
      • Anti-aircraft Missile Battalion
      • Support Units
    • 25th Public Security Protection Brigade, Kyiv
      • Brigade HQ and HQ Company
      • NGU National Honor Guard Battalion, Kyiv
      • 1st Patrol Battalion, Kyiv
      • 2nd Patrol Battalion, Kyiv
      • 3rd Patrol Battalion, Kyiv
      • 4th Patrol Battalion, Kyiv
        National Guard soldiers in 2016.
      • 5th Patrol Battalion, Kyiv
    • 27th (Transport) Brigade, Kyiv
      • 1st Operational Battalion "Kulchytskiy", Kyiv
      • 1st (Transport) Battalion, Kyiv
      • 2nd (Transport) Battalion, Kyiv
      • 3rd (Transport) Battalion, Chernihiv
    • 25th National Guard Battalion, Cherkassy
    • 75th National Guard Battalion, Zhytomyr
    • Medical Company (Reserve)
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle Group
    • Training Center, Starye
      • Training Battalion

Central Operational-Territorial Command

The Central Operational-Territorial Command, headquartered in Dnipro, covers the oblasts of Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad and Poltava.

  • Central Operational-Territorial Command, Dnipro
    • 21st Public Order Protection Brigade, Kryvyi Rih
      • 1st Patrol Battalion, Kropyvnytskyi
      • 2nd Patrol Battalion, Kryvyi Rih
    • 16th Public Order Protection Regiment, Dnipro
      • 1st Patrol Battalion
      • 2nd Patrol Battalion
      • 3rd Patrol Battalion
    • 12th National Guard Battalion, Poltava
    • 14th (Transport) Battalion, Dnipro
    • 26th National Guard Battalion, Kremenchug
    • Medical Company (Reserve)
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle Group

Eastern Operational-Territorial Command

BTR-80 of the Azov Regiment of the NGU parading in Mariupol, 2021.

The Eastern Operational-Territorial Command, headquartered in Kharkiv, covers the oblasts of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk and Sumy, and is the frontline command of National Guard forces forward deployed first in the war in Donbas and then in the subsequent Russian invasion.

  • Eastern Operational-Territorial Command, Kharkiv
    • 3rd Operational Brigade, Kharkiv
      • Brigade HQ and HQ Company
      • 1st Operational Battalion
      • 2nd Operational Battalion
      • 3rd Operational Battalion
      • Tank Battalion
      • Artillery Battalion
      • Anti-aircraft Missile Battalion
      • Support Units
    • Soldiers of the Azov Regiment of the NGU in a military parade in Mariupol, 2021.
      5th Independent National Guard Brigade "Slobozhansky", Kharkiv
      • Brigade HQ and HQ Company
      • 1st Infantry Battalion
      • 2nd Infantry Battalion
      • 3rd Infantry Battalion
      • 4th Infantry Battalion
      • Support Units
    • 15th National Guard Regiment, Sloviansk
      • Headquarters and HQ Company
      • 1st Infantry Battalion
    • 18th Operational Regiment (Reinforced), Mariupol
    • 11th National Guard Battalion, Sumy
    • Medical Company (Reserve)
    • Special Forces Intelligence Detachment "Ares", Kharkiv
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle Group
    • Training Center, Malinivka
      • Training Battalion

Southern Operational-Territorial Command

Soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard fast roping from a Mil Mi-8 helicopter.

The Southern Operational-Territorial Command, headquartered in Odesa, covers the oblasts of Odesa, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia. During the ongoing Russian invasion, the NGU Southern Command is responsible for all National Guard forces forward deployed in Southern Ukraine.

  • Southern Operational-Territorial Command, Odesa
    • 23rd Public Order Protection Brigade, Zaporizhzhia
      • Brigade HQ and HQ Company
      • 1st Patrol Battalion, Zaporizhzhia
      • 2nd Patrol Battalion, Melitopol
      • 3rd Patrol Battalion, Berdiansk
      • 4th Patrol Battalion, Enerhodar
    • 9th Operational Regiment "Gepard", Zaporizhzhia
      • HQ and HQ Company
      • 1st Operational Battalion
      • 2nd Operational Battalion
      • 3rd Operational Battalion
    • 19th Public Order Protection Regiment, Mykolaiv
      • 1st Patrol Battalion
      • 2nd Patrol Battalion
      • 3rd Patrol Battalion
    • 49th Public Order Protection Regiment, Odesa
      • 1st Patrol Battalion, Odesa
      • 2nd Patrol Battalion, Bolhrad
      • 3rd Patrol Battalion, Izmail
      • 4th Operational Battalion, Odesa
    • 16th National Guard Battalion, Kherson
    • 19th (Transport) Battalion, Zaporizhzhia
    • 34th (Transport) Battalion, Odesa
    • Medical Company (Reserve)
    • Spetsnaz Detachment "Odesa", Odesa
    • Unmanned aerial vehicle Group
Badge of the 22nd Separate Guards Brigade, assigned to Kyiv for Diplomatic Protection (Diplomatic security) duties also known as military unit #2260[46]

Historic structure

At the end of 1992, six divisions were formed:

  • 1st (Kyiv) Division – Kyiv, Zhytomyr
  • 2nd (East) Division – Kharkiv, Chuhuiv, Luhansk
  • 3rd (South) Division – Odesa, Kharkiv, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Mykolaiv, Kherson
  • 4th (North) Division – Donetsk, Dnipro, Mariupol, Pavlohrad, Kryvyi Rih
  • 5th (West) Division – Lviv, Lutsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Drohobych
  • 6th Division – Chuhuiv (formed from the 48th Motor Rifle Division and became the 92nd Mechanized Brigade in 1999)
  • 7th (Crimean) Division – Simferopol (from 1996 – formed from 126th Motor Rifle Division)

Other elements included, at various times:

Under the pre-2000 structure,[i][j] the National Guard administratively came under the Ministry of Internal Affairs but operationally answered directly to the President of Ukraine, though prior to 1995 parliament had some operational oversight. In the 2014 structure, it reports both administratively and operationally to the Minister of Internal Affairs, a position at present held by Arsen Avakov. In the old NSU, its overall Commander was originally appointed by the Presidium of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) for 5-year terms. His Deputy Commander was appointed to the post by the President of Ukraine upon a submission from the Commander. However, in 1995 the system was changed so that both the Commander and Deputy Commander would be appointed by the President.

The Central Band of the National Guard of Ukraine

Also part of the NSU was the Military Council, which approved the personal staff of the President of Ukraine based on submissions from the Commander, and the Department of National Guard, an administrative entity acting in accordance with the terms of reference approved by the President of Ukraine. This included the Guard's secondary Disaster management role.[k]

2014 organisation and structure

As of late March 2014, it was still in flux. However, current developments suggest that the 'new' National Guard will primarily be a Light infantry force, heavily reliant on reserve units with a few mechanized and armor support elements. This is in contrast to the 'old' National Guard, which was mostly a Mechanized infantry force, albeit one that incorporated a number of specialized formations and units, along with organic armor, artillery and air support elements.

The first of the new National Guard's regular battalions formally paraded on 6 April,[49] after only three weeks of training. The unidentified battalion consists of 500 members of between 18 and 55 years of age, and it appears to be tasked as a rapid reaction force, using soft skinned vehicles such as trucks for transport.

The 4th Rapid Reaction Brigade was formed as part of the National Guard on 2 June 2015.[50]

The commander of the National Guard of Ukraine is appointed by the president since 25 December 2015.[51] Up until then, the commander was appointed by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) under a motion from the President.[52]

MRAPs of the Azov Battalion in Mariupol, 2021.

Azov Battalion

Named after the Sea of Azov, the unit was created in Mariupol which is a major coastal city and operates as the capital of Donetsk Oblast due to the occupations of Donetsk by insurgents. The unit was one of the first battalions to form and begin to resist the rebels, playing a large role in the defence of Mariupol.[53] The battalion is mostly composed of Russian-speaking volunteers from Eastern Ukraine and initially was headed by Andriy Biletsky.

The unit is known for far right agenda and has been reported as displaying Nazi symbols. The unit denies the allegation that they use Nazi symbols, claiming that their logo is based on the Coat of Arms of Ukraine[54] while elements of the national flag are also used. In 2014, a spokesman for the regiment said around 10–20% of the unit were neo-Nazis.[55]

It was upgraded into a full regiment in 2015, and is the only one with foreign soldiers in its ranks. It is also the NG's only territorial defence regiment in service, having fought with distinction in both the Donbas War and the current Russian invasion.

Donbas Battalion

Semen Semenchenko, the leader and founder of the Donbas battalion wearing his trademark balaclava.

The most well-known and first volunteer battalion to form to resist Russian insurgents in the Donbas, often referred to as the "little black men" as an analog to Crimea's Little green men. The unit was conceived and is headed by Semen Semenchenko, an ethnic Ukrainian. It formed from local ethnic Russian volunteers of the Donbas region who disagreed with the separatist philosophy and wished to remain part of Ukraine but were dissatisfied with the inaction of Ukrainian government forces in the area. In effect it is an analog of the separatist formed Vostok Battalion which formed from ethnic Russians fighting for separatism.

Since its formation the unit became much more diverse accepting volunteers from all over Ukraine and foreign nations into their ranks, however ethnic Russians still make up the majority of the unit. The unit is one of the largest volunteer battalions in Ukraine with nearly 1,000 members and has participated in most major battles since the start of the war in Donbas.[56] Despite being part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ National Guard unit, battalion had received funding from various donors.[57] The unit also aided in the defence of Mariupol when Russian forces invaded through Novoazovsk, the battalion sent several tank destroyers to slow the Russian advance. The offensive toward Mariupol was halted near Shyrokyne and Bezimenne.[58]

In September 2014 the unit was reorganized into a Regiment the bulk of which consisted of a 700-man Battalion Tactical Group. The Ministry of Defence stated that the unit would be armed with tanks and armored personnel carriers. A Spetsnaz unit within the battalion was also formed.[59] The unit has been re-designated as the 3rd Reserve Battalion of the National Guard of Ukraine after being integrated into regular forces, but the Spetsnaz company remained.


Standard of the Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard of Ukraine


New recruits (those not transferring in from the Internal Troops, Ground Forces or military academies) will undergo an initial two-week compressed training course, covering a range of areas from firearms and unarmed combat, to map reading and communications. Those signing up to be full-time members of the Guard will receive at least an additional four weeks of training.[l] For those part-time members who complete their two-week training and return to their communities to await call-up, the authorities appear to be planning to implement a variation of the March battalion system; based where possible around existing civilian militias and armed groupings. Most of those use the sotnya as their basic unit, as does the National Guard itself.

Badge of the National Guard.

In March 2015, the National Guard of Ukraine received training from the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. The training took place at the Yavoriv training center near the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The 173rd Airborne paratroopers trained the Ukrainians on how to better defend themselves against "Russian and rebel artillery and rockets." Training also included securing roads, bridges, and other infrastructure and treating and evacuating casualties.[64]

Officers and NCOs of the NGU are trained under the aegis of the National Guard Military Academy of Ukraine.

Ranks and insignia


Rank group General/flag officers Field/senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Ukrainian Ground Forces[65]
Погон генерала ЗСУ (2020).svg Погон генерал-лейтенанта ЗСУ (2020).svg Погон генерал-майора ЗСУ (2020).svg Погон бригадного генерала ЗСУ (2020).svg UA shoulder mark 17.svg UA shoulder mark 16.svg UA shoulder mark 15.svg UA shoulder mark 14.svg UA shoulder mark 13.svg UA shoulder mark 12.svg UA shoulder mark 11.svg
Бригадний генерал
Bryhadnyi heneral
Старший лейтенант
Starshyi leitenant
Молодший лейтенант
Molodshyi leitenant

Other Ranks and NCOs

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Ukrainian Ground Forces[65]
UA shoulder mark 10-0.svg UA shoulder mark 09.svg UA shoulder mark 08.svg UA shoulder mark 07.svg UA shoulder mark 06.svg UA shoulder mark 05.svg UA shoulder mark 04.svg UA shoulder mark 03.svg UA shoulder mark 02.svg UA shoulder mark 01.svg
Головний майстер-сержант
Holovnyi maister-serzhant
Старший майстер-сержант
Starshyi maister-serzhant
Головний сержант
Holovnyi serzhant
Старший сержант
Starshyi serzhant
Молодший сержант
Molodshyi serzhant
Старший солдат
Starshyi soldat

Long Service Medal


See also


  1. ^ "Actions aimed at the violent overthrow, change of constitutional order, or the seizure of state power"
  2. ^ The Institute and Senior NCO school were both created out of the Soviet era Kharkov Higher Military School of Logistics Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR
  3. ^ The Novorossiysk-Kyiv separate regiment was moved to the Ukrainian Ground Forces upon disbandment of the original National Guard.[18]
  4. ^ Consisted of an administrative element and two primary units; the 51st Separate Helicopter Brigade and the 31st Separate Combat Helicopter Squadron. The former had 29 transport helicopters on strength at its formation, including Mil Mi-6s, Mi-26s, and Mi-8MTs. The latter had an initial TOE of 12 Mi-24 attack helicopters and 6 Mi-8MT transport helicopters.
  5. ^ Active as such between 1992 and 1993. Afterwards gave its tanks up to the Ground Forces and became the training battalion for the 1st Division.
  6. ^ Formed from the remnants of the 93rd Motorized Rifle Division. The tank battalion of a typical Soviet style Motor Rifle Regiment consisted of three companies, each in turn containing three platoons with four tanks apiece. Each Motor Rifle Division primarily consisted of three Motor Rifle Regiments and a Tank Regiment, the latter in turn containing three tank battalions each having a strength of 31 tanks (plus support elements including a ZSU AA battery). It is somewhat uncertain if the independent battalion was at its theoretical maximum full complement of 36 tanks upon its formation, however.
  7. ^ In other words an Airborne Spetsnaz unit. Its primary role was special reconnaissance, though it also carried out other ISR taskings, as well as Special Operations and Counter-Terrorism operations during its lifetime, with corresponding name changes. May have had a few BTR-Ds on strength, but this is by no means certain.
  8. ^ Likely closer to reinforced company strength in actuality.
  9. ^ The Skorpion (Scorpion) unit, also known as the 'crimson berets', was originally the special forces battalion of the pre-2000 National Guard.[18] It is unknown at this time (late March 2014) whether it will rejoin the revived National Guard.
  10. ^ The Kobra (Cobra) mountain-rifle battalion may have originally been the Guard's Alpine warfare unit, but sources are not clear on this point.
  11. ^ According to the legislation that revived the National Guard, the 'new' Guard is supposed to have a similar role but there is no solid information on that aspect of its operations and responsibilities as of late March 2014.
  12. ^ However, at least one regular battalion has been stood up with only three weeks total of training.[Early April 2014]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ukraine: National Guard Restored". Library of Congress. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  2. ^ Flanagan, Stephen J.; Kepe, Marta (26 February 2022). "What kind of resistance can Ukraine mount?".
  3. ^ a b c (in Ukrainian) Shooting in Dnipro: Zelensky officially fired the commander of the National Guard, TSN (27 January 2022)
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External links and further reading