Army 2.0: Brigades Modernize While Countering Aggression
The war triggered changes in the country, and the people defending it. The new Ukrainian army is constantly innovating with modern weapons, equipment, and an improvised system for training and managing troops
The Ukrainian Armed Forces met the enemy in the spring of 2014 and have since transformed dramatically over the past five and a half years. Now, the army has new uniforms and weapons, a modern preparation system–and combat experience.
“You could say that our army rose from its knees. Both in technical terms, and in terms of equipment. Starting with the basic weapons of a regular infantryman and ending with the use of strategic systems. Each structure, each military branch is changing significantly,” said Vadym, the company commander of a detached mechanized brigade.
The Ukrainian army is based on its people: those who fight, who develop new kinds of weapons, and who improve the systems of support and training for soldiers and officers. Many of those who decided to join the military did it because of Russian aggression in the Donbas.
Denys, a member of a detached mechanized brigade, said, “We are regular men who left our families, our children and went to fight for our country, for our homes. For a united and indivisible Ukrainian state.”
Another member of detached mechanized brigade, Oleksandr, said, “I saw children hiding in basements and cellars. I don’t want my son to hide like that. I am trying to hold them here so that they don’t come to my house.”
The war often showed who is who on the front line. Viktor Nikoliuk, commander of the 92nd Detached Mechanized Brigade from 2013-2017, said, “There was a sergeant who commanded a company. He stood calmly for 6 months because the company commander and the sergeant major were heavily wounded. So he – a regular sergeant – was in command. Later, he became the commander of a reconnaissance platoon.”
Since the war started, generals with real combat experience have appeared in the army. Officers who started with commanding small units, are now in charge of brigades. In the units, they are replaced by graduates of the Lviv Ground Forces Academy.
“I studied at the Academy for 4 years. … I entered it during the war, it continued throughout all the years of study, and we prepared for it. We agreed to it consciously,” Oleh, Unit Commander of the 24th Detached Mechanized Brigade, said.
Many service people say that the main thing is for the reforms to continue. “This is a stage of fast development. And it’s necessary for it to continue. Society needs to understand the importance of the army, like in 2014 and 2015. They need to know that their protection depends on it,” Company Commander Vadym said.
Ukrainian Armed Forces Day will be marked on December 6th. Learn about the modernization of weapons and soldiers’ training, innovations in the army medicine, and volunteers who have been supporting the army for 6 years – in our next reports for our series, “Army 2.0”, dedicated to Ukrainian Armed Forces Day.