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How do Russia and Ukraine’s militaries compare?

New infographic shows Putin’s fleets far outweigh opponent’s in practically every area

Sam Hancock
Tuesday 15 February 2022 23:56 GMT
Related video: Putin says Russian demands have not been met but he is ready to continue talks

It will come as no surprise to most that Russia has a larger military than Ukraine, but the extent to which the smaller nation is outnumbered may not be so obvious.

In a new infographic, created for The Independent by statistics agency Statista, the force of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s ground, air and naval forces compared with that of his Ukrainian counterpart is plain to see.

Mr Putin, for instance, boasts 850,000 active personnel – Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, trails on 200,000. In the air, Russia has more than 4,000 combined aircrafts, while Ukraine has less than 320. And on sea, Russia’s naval fleet of 605 far outweighs its opponent’s 38.

This infographic, created for The Independent by statistics agency Statista , shows the relative military strength of Ukraine and Russia (Statista/The Independent)

In one particularly bleak naval statistic, the diagram – which uses data compiled by military statistics website Global Firepower – shows that while Russia has 15 destroyers ready to go, Ukraine has zero.

The Russian president declared on Tuesday that he does not want war in Europe, and reportedly began withdrawing some troops, however Boris Johnson made clear he was sceptical of Mr Putin’s assurances.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting of the UK government’s emergency Cobra committee, the prime minister pointed to evidence of field hospitals being built in Belarus near the border with Ukraine and army formations being brought closer to the frontier.

The construction of field hospitals – used to provide treatment for troops injured in battle – can only be “construed as preparation for an invasion”, Mr Johnson said.

“We think they have a huge preparation ready to go virtually at any moment,” he added.

Whether Mr Putin makes the decision to invade Ukraine again remains to be seen. What is evidently clear from the above graphic, though, is that if he does – the scale of Russia’s military is so vast, its impact is likely to be devastating.

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