National Guard of Ukraine

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National Guard of Ukraine
Національна гвардія України
Emblem of the National Guard of Ukraine.svg
Active 4 November 1991 – 11 January 2000 (8 years, 2 months)
13 March 2014[1] – present (1 year, 5 months)
Country  Ukraine
Allegiance Government of Ukraine
Branch Law enforcement
Role Reserve force / counter-insurgency
Size 60 000 servicemen [2]
Part of Ministry of Internal Affairs

(Current incarnation) National Anthem

Shche ne vmerla Ukraina
"Ukraine has Not Yet Died"
Anniversaries 26 March[3]
Engagements 1992–94 Crimean crisis[4]
Transnistrian conflict (border security reinforcement Spring/Summer 1992)
2014 Crimean Crisis
2014 pro-Russian conflict in Ukraine
Stepan Poltorak[1][5]
Ensign Flag of the National Guard of Ukraine.svg

The National Guard of Ukraine (NGU; Ukrainian: Національна гвардія України, Natsionalna hvardiya Ukrayiny) is the Ukrainian national gendarmerie. It is part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It was originally created as an agency under the direct control of the Ukrainian parliament 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 a political crisis in the country, the National Guard was reestablished and the Internal Troops were disbanded.[6]

During the 2014–15 war in the Donbass region of Ukraine, the forces of the revived National Guard have fought against pro-Russian separatists.


The National Guard was recreated in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On the National Guard of Ukraine" [Law number 4393] dated March 12, 2014,[7] (the draft legislation being originally introduced to the Ukrainian parliament on March 11). 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.[8]

The NSU was originally created by the Law of Ukraine "On the National Guard of Ukraine" dated 4 November 1991, № 1775 -XII. Dissolved by the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine" dated 11 January 2000. During its early existence, the National Guard was indirectly involved in the Transnistrian conflict during the Spring/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 NSU (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 2014 the reformed force was to be created partially on the basis of the Internal Troops of Ukraine, with plans for 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.[9] Direct recruitment from military academies is also intended.[10] On March 16, the Yatsenyuk Government announced plans for the recruitment of 10,000 people within the next 15 days for the National Guard.[11] Individual volunteers are also being accepted.

The 2014 law provides 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",[12] 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).[13] 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.[9] 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.


Badge of the 22nd Separate Guards Brigade, assigned to Kiev for Diplomatic Protection (Diplomatic security) duties also known as military unit #2260[14]


  • Main administration
  • Territorial commands
  • Units of direct subordinance
  • Educational institutions


At the end of 1992, six divisions were formed:

  • 1st (Kiev) Division - Kyiv, Zhytomyr
  • 2nd (East) Division - Kharkiv, Chuhuiv, Luhansk
  • 3rd (South) Division - Odessa, Kharkiv, Simferopol, Sevastopol, Mykolaiv, Kherson
  • 4th (North) Division - Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, 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.

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[edit]

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 the April 6,[17] after only three weeks of training. The unidentified (Kiev based?) 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 commander of the National Guard of Ukraine is appointed by the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) under a motion from the President.[1]



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 NGU 1991–2000[edit]


See also[edit]


  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-Kiev separate regiment was moved to the Ukrainian Ground Forces upon disbandment of the original National Guard.[12]
  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 a 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.[12] 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 Turchynov proposes parliament appoint Poltorak as National Guard commander, Interfax-Ukraine (19 March 2014)
  2. ^ "The National Guard of Ukraine. One Year Later". 26 March 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "President declares March 26 Day of National Guard". Interfax-Ukraine. 18 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Yaroslav Mezentsev (10 May 2011). Холодна війна за Крим. Як ділили флот у 1990-х [Cold war over Crimea. How the fleet was divided in 1990.] (in Ukrainian). 
  5. ^ "Parliament appoints Poltorak as commander of National Guard of Ukraine". Interfax-Ukraine. 15 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Рада создала Национальную гвардию Украины [Parliament has established the National Guard of Ukraine]. (in Russian). 13 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Проект Закону про Національну гвардію України [Draft Law of Ukraine on the National Guard; Act 876-VII] (in Ukrainian). Verkhovna Rada. 13 March 2014. 
  8. ^ В Украине объявили о создании Национальной гвардии: Начинается мобилизация опытных военных [The establishment of the National Guard of Ukraine is announced: Mobilization of expert military begins]. (in Russian). 11 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-03-11. 
  9. ^ a b Roman Goncharenko (20 March 2014). "Can the National Guard save Ukraine?". Deutsche Welle. 
  10. ^ "Ukraine creates National Guard ahead of Crimea vote". 13 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Chris Morris (16 March 2014). "Kiev expects West response after Crimea vote". 
  12. ^ a b c d "Ukrainian National Guard". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Anthony Faiola (17 March 2014). "Ukraine mobilizes reservists but relies on diplomacy". Washington Post. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Військова частина 2260 (м. Київ) [Military unit 2260 (Kyiv)] (in Ukrainian). Archived from the original on 2014-08-26. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Training center. NGU website. accessed May 1, 2014
  16. ^ Martial way Novorossiysk 290 Red Regiment. 290 Regiment formed in April 1942 as part of mechanized infantry units of internal troops. During World War II the regiment had been about the protection and defense of the Georgian Military Road, took part in the assault and liberation of the city of Novorossiysk, for which he 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 State anti-Hitler coalition. On November 24, 1945, the regiment was relocated to the city of Kyiv, where the personnel performing the functions inherent internal forces (combat gang violence, criminal groups, public order and public authorities in Kiev). 1945-1947 years - units of the regiment took part in the fight against gang violence in western Ukraine. In 1970, the regiment provided the public order in Odessa for eliminating the cholera epidemic. In 1980 he took part in ensuring public order during the Olympic Games. In 198 5 he ensured public order at Moscow during the World Youth Forum. From 26.04.1986 till May 1987 took part in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident (protection of public order, combating looting). From 1988 to 1991 served as 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 at present 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, he was transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and at its base the 1 single Novorossiysk-Kyiv Order of the Red Banner Regiment of the President of Ukraine (in / hr A-0222). Source
  17. ^ Перший батальйон Національної гвардії склав присягу [First battalion of the National Guard sworn in]. Unian Agency (in Ukrainian). 6 April 2014. 
  18. ^ NGU Commander Guard Lt.General V. Kukharets. Spetsnaz NGU. March 24, 2013
  19. ^ NGU Commander Guard Lt.General O.Kuzmuk. Spetsnaz NGU. March 24, 2013
  20. ^ NGU Commander Guard Lt.Guard I.Valkov. Spetsnaz NGU. March 24, 2013
  21. ^ NGU Commader Guard Lt.General O.Chapovsky. Spetsnaz NGU. March 24, 2013

External links and further reading[edit]