Internal Troops of Ukraine

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Interior Troops of Ukraine
Внутрішні війська України
Abbreviation BB
Internal Troops of Ukraine.svg
Logo of the Interior Troops of Ukraine.
Внутрішні війська.jpg
Badge of the Interior Troops of Ukraine.
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Governing body Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ukraine)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Kiev
Agency executive Lieutenant General Stepan Poltorak[1], Commander
Official Website

The Interior Troops of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Внутрішні війська України, Vnutrishni Viys'ka Ukrayiny - Interior forces of Ukraine; abbreviated ВВ, VV)[2] was a uniformed gendarmerie-like force in Ukraine that since March 13, 2014 is merged with the National Guard of Ukraine.[3]

Interior Troops are administratively subordinated to the Chief Directorate of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine (the civilian police authority of the country)[4] which closely cooperate with the Ministry of Emergencies. The VV are used to assist militsiya in policing, deal with large-scale riots and internal armed conflicts, and safeguard important facilities such as nuclear power plants. During wartime, the Interior Troops fall under the jurisdiction of the Ukrainian armed forces and fulfill tasks of local defense and rear area security. In case of a state of emergency, the Interior Troops fulfill a special regime of emergency nationwide or throughout the declared zone of emergency.

The Interior Troops of Ukraine retain much of the personnel, bases, equipment and traditions of the Soviet Internal Troops. The reason for this is that Soviet VV units that were stationed in Ukrainian SSR during the dissolution of the Soviet Union fell under jurisdiction of the newly independent Ukraine. However, Ukrainian VV troops are not a direct successor of the Soviet Internal Troops (unlike in Russia) and have experienced substantial reform of their structure and tasks.

As of 2008, the Internal Troops of Ukraine included about 33,000 servicepersons.[5]

The Interior Troops of Ukraine was heavily involved in the 2013 Euromaidan revolution, being tasked with passively defending the building of the Administration of the President of Ukraine in Kiev.

Conscription was ended by the then President Yanukovych in October 2013.[6]


Creation of National Guard and Interior Troops[edit]

The Interior Troops of Ukraine were formed on January 5, 1992 within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine as the Chief Directorate of forces of internal and convoy security.[7] The Law of Ukraine "About troops of internal and convoy security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine" was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on March 26, 1992.[8][9]

However, prior to that all Soviet Internal Troops units that were based in Ukraine were reorganized into the National Guard of Ukraine (initially as Republican Guard of Ukraine).[10] The respective decree was declared by the Presidium of Ukrainian parliament on January 24, 1991. Later the troops returned to their traditional tasks (and eventually original name), as the National Guard was formally liquidated.

Internal security during election unrest[edit]

The Orange Revolution was a series of peaceful protests that overturned an election for the Presidency in the winter of 2004/2005 resulting in the election of Viktor Yushchenko.

On November 28, 2004 over 10,000 Interior Troops mobilized to put down the protests on Independence Square in Kiev according to their commander Lt. Gen. Sergei Popkov. The SBU warned opposition leaders of the crackdown.[citation needed] Oleksandr Galaka, head of GUR (Chief Directorate of Intelligence) made calls to "prevent bloodshed". Col. Gen. Ihor P. Smesko (SBU chief) and Maj. Gen. Vitaly Romanchenko (military counter-intelligence chief) both warned Popkov to pull back his troops, which he did. Thus, the senior officers of the Ukrainian Security Services claimed the credit for averting a situation that they said risked bloodshed and, possibly, a civil war.[1]

Recent reorganization attempts[edit]

After a decade of existence within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Interior Troops were reorganized. In May 2007, the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine lead to a jurisdiction dispute over the troops. President Viktor Yuschenko issued a decree placing Interior Troops from the Ministry of Internal Affairs directly under the jurisdiction of the President. Later, on May 25, the Interior Troops command loyal to the President ordered an unprecedented and dramatic march on the capital Kiev. The MVS criticized both the decree and the subsequent troop move.

Sides of the political crisis managed to avoid further clashes between law enforcers. The Interior Troops subsequently returned to their routine tasks and have re-established practical co-ordination with the militsiya. However, the legal dispute over the troops remains unsolved. The Troops command declares its loyalty to the President in accordance with the decree which is currently appealed in the court by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Euromaidan poster explaining difference between Berkut special police and conscripted Internal Troops of Ukraine.


Despite reporting to a civilian militsiya authority, the Internal Troops of Ukraine are a military-like force with a centralized system of ranks and service. The Chief Commander and Staff of the troops maintain their separate chain of command and the VV units (battalions and regiments) are under the command of territorial commanders (six), who in turn report to the Chief Commander. The units are stationed in military bases throughout the country, including a base in the center of the capital Kiev.

The Interior Troops also have one aviation brigade that was initially formed out of 51st Separate Helicopter Guard Regiment (Oleksandriya) and 31st Special Helicopter Battle Squadron (Bila Tserkva). In 2000 the 51st Separate Helicopter Brigade was reinforced by another aviation squadron from a special operations unit "Yaguar" as well as receiving an extra airfield in Kalynivka of Vinnytsia Oblast.

Territorial division[edit]

There are six directorate of territorial commands sometimes abbreviated as Trk: West, North, East, Center, South, and Crimea. Each Trk has a certain units assigned directly to it which are identified by a four digit number. Beside that there are several units of a direct subordination.

Western TrK[edit]

Crimean TrK[edit]

  • Simferopol (#3009), named as Lavanda (Lavender) - a mountain-rifle unit of special operations, initially as a battalion, currently it is a company size element. Lavanda also has a squad size element Skat which is a unit of military swimmers. It also cooperates with another company size unit Tin (Shadow), an intelligence unit located in Balaklava.
  • Yevpatoria (#3055)
  • Gaspra (#3058)
  • Sevastopol (#4110)
  • East Crimea (#4125) - Feodosia-13, Krasnokamianka, Sudak, special operations "Tyhr" (Tiger)

Southern TrK[edit]

Kiev Northern TrK[edit]

Eastern TrK[edit]

Central TrK[edit]

Direct jurisdiction[edit]

Specific units[edit]

In 1994, three regiments of special assignment units were created as part of the Internal Troops of Ukraine (not the National Guard of Ukraine) in order to increase its combat potential against organized crime. All of them were named after felidae: Bars (Snow leopard, near Kiev), Yahuar (Jaguar, Vinnytsia Oblast), and Hepard (Cheetah, Zaporizhia). On May 19, 2004, the 37th Separate Battalion of Internal Troops was relocated from Pavlohrad to Crimea and transformed into the 47th Regiment of Special Assignment, later - Tyhr (Tiger).

Bars is a brigade which is part of the Kiev territorial command. It also contains a special assignment Omega unit as its battalion. Omega is an anti-terrorist unit specializing in sniping that structurally is a part of the Bars.[11] Tyhr is a regiment that is subordinate to the Crimea territorial command. Yahuar and Hepard are company-sized regiments subordinate directly to the Chief Directorate of Internal Troops.

Other selected Units[edit]

  • Kobra (Cobra) - a mountain-rifle battalion of special operations, headquartered in Balaklava (Crimea) - current status unclear.
  • Skorpion - an anti-terrorist unit used in the security of national nuclear objectives (such as the security near the Chernobyl AES) - originally part of the National Guard of Ukraine; it may rejoin it now that it has been revived.
  • 290th Regiment - Formed in April 1942 as part of the mechanised infantry of the Soviet Internal Troops. During World War II, the regiment was tasked with the protection and defense of the Georgian Military Road, and it took part in the assault and liberation of the city of Novorossiysk, for which it was awarded the honorary title of "Novorossiysk". The regiment performed garrison service tasks and elimination of hostile elements in areas liberated from Nazi occupation. In 1945, the work provided the Yalta Conference of allied states.[clarification needed] On November 24, 1945, the regiment was relocated to the city of Kyiv, where it performed functions inherent to internal forces (combating gang violence, criminal groups, ensuring public order and protecting public authorities in Kiev). From 1945-1947, units of the regiment took part in the fight against gang violence in western Ukraine. In 1970, the regiment ensured public order in Odessa while a cholera epidemic was eliminated. In 1980, it took part in ensuring public order during the Olympic Games. In 1985, it ensured public order at the Moscow World Youth Forum. From April 26, 1986 until May 1987, it took part in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident, including protecting public order and combating looting. From 1988 to 1991, it served on a peacekeeping mission in the Caucasus. In 1992, the regiment joined the National Guard of Ukraine. Only part of the National Guard of Ukraine carried out the functions and tasks that are presently assigned to the Internal Troops of Ukraine. After the disbanding of the National Guard of Ukraine in 2000, according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine, it was transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At its base the one single Novorossiysk-Kyiv Order of the Red Banner Regiment of the President of Ukraine (in / hr A-0222)[clarification needed].[12]


A Ukrainian serviceman attacked by protesters during clashes in Kiev, February 18, 2014
  • Assisting militsiya in policing
  • Crowd control at mass events, anti-riot operations
  • Safeguarding and defense of top-important facilities and special cargos
  • Safeguarding external perimeters of foreign embassies in Ukraine
  • Dealing with internal armed disturbances and terrorism (including some special forces tasks)
  • Maintaining state of emergency regime


The Internal Troops of Ukraine are experiencing a slow transition from the Soviet conscript system (similar to that for the Soviet Army) to the contract personnel system. VV officers are trained in the special Academy of Internal Troops.


Weapons and equipment[edit]

AK-74 5.45mm assault rifle;

Fort-12 9mm pistol;

RPK 74 5.45mm machine gun;

PKM 7.62mm machine gun;

AKSU-74 5.45mm submachine gun.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]