Army of Ukraine: Who said that #30?

December 29, 2017

In this year’s ranking of the world’s strongest armies Global Firepower Ukraine ranked 30th place which is between Sweden and Myanmar. Reproduced by the domestic Ministry of defence this information has long been walked through the Internet and in the minds of Ukrainians has already managed to engrave as a constant. Ukrainians perceive this ranking well: it is a pleasure to realize that Ukrainian army belongs to three dozen strongest militaries of the world, given that we rebuild our army from scratch, as country’s leaders say. Ukrainian consumer, along with the Ministry of Defence was too overwhelming – Z has conducted intelligence, whose results are credible to this index. Consequently, the Ukrainian army may turn out to be not a #30…

The author of the Global Firepower rating is the American Military Factory project, which publishes news and analyses of troops, weapons and military history. Every spring he updates data on the Global Firepower Index, forming a new ranking of the world’s strongest armies.

This year, the authors of the index gave the Ukrainian army 0.5664 balls – 7 times less than the strongest army in the world – the US, but 13 times more than the weakest troops of the planet – Bhutan.

Despite the fact that the fresh rating is published annually in April, this year the information wave was raised in Ukraine in August, when the this rating was republished on its web-site by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. According to the web-site of the Ukrainian defence department “Ukraine’s armed forces are included in the top 30 best armies of the world”.

The fact that the data of the international index was reprinted by the official army resource would certainly have to show that the rating of “Global Fire Capacity” is good for us.

Co-Director of foreign relations and international security programs at the Razumkov Centre Oleksiy Melnyk said that all ratings of military power weaken the reliability of data. According to him, many centers use the CIA World Factbook.

“If you choose a sphere, go in and look at this publication, then you will see that the accuracy of the information has a certain backlash. The given data may be some starting point, but I hardly would take it for granted and even more include some ratings, explains Mr. Melnyk. Perhaps this is why Daniel Pucec’s rating is quite popular in different countries, since he operates a large array of valid data.

According to Oleksiy Melnyk, there are several authoritative institutions in the world who study the country’s firepower. This is a great work that requires competent and thorough analysis and considerable intellectual resources. As an example Melnyk defines a British reference book “The military balance”, published annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. This reference book is not an open source – it is sold online on subscription.

“There are specialized editions, whole institutions that collect and analyze information. They are very valuable and the subscription costs a lot of money. The quality of editions which is available for free is not appropriate”, - Melnyk commented.

According to him, even authoritative institutions in their studies use a methodology that does not always allow us to make a realistic picture of a particular state act in the military sphere. For example, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in its arms procurement analysis, uses estimates based on the well-known price of typical armaments units. It estimates the sale of military potentials, and does not lead to a real price laid down in contracts.

As for the Global Firepower Index, Mr. Melnyk says: “I would not have begun referring to this study in my work”.

Mr. Melnyk replied to the question why the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine decided to quote this index: “Everyone is happy when you received a high estimation”.


Oleksiy Melnyk

Co-Director, Foreign Relations and International Security Programmes, Coordinator of International Projects

Born in 1962 in Khmelnytsty Rgn


Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK (2007)

Air Field Operations Officer School, Biloxy, MS, US (2001)

Squadron Officer School, Montgomery, AL, US (1994)

Defence Language Institute, San Antonio, TX, US (1994)

Chernihiv Higher Military Air Force Academy, Ukraine (1984)


1980 – 2001 — Air Force Active Service (Cadet, Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, Deputy Air Force Base Commander, Participant of two UN peacekeeping operations, Lt.Colonel (Ret)

2001 – 2004 — Razumkov Centre

2004 – 2005 — State Company Ukroboronservice

2005 – 2008 — Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Head Organisational and Analytical Division — First Assistant to Minister of Defence

(044) 201-11-95