While Russia and Ukraine are not as closely linked as once they were, they are still a cause for concern. Ukraine is a former Soviet republic that has deep historical and cultural ties to Russia. It has, however, been attempting to break away from its past and forge closer ties with the West. In recent years, it has rejected an EU association agreement and the Kremlin-leaning president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as a result. In addition to its role in the recent Ukrainian conflict, Russia has also annexed the Crimean Peninsula and supported separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine.
While NATO troops and Ukrainian forces have conducted a routine war-game in the Arctic, the United States and Ukraine are increasing their military and humanitarian support for the country. As part of its military aid, the U.S. military has delivered 80% of the 90 howitzers it earmarked for Ukraine and trained 170 Ukrainian soldiers to operate them. Britain is also providing antiship missiles and armored vehicles to Ukraine. Although the situation is tense, the European Union is stepping up its support for Ukraine.
The military of the two countries has vastly different strengths. Russia’s Air Force has a much larger fleet of aircraft than Ukraine’s. With over 4,100 aircraft and 772 fighter planes, Russia has the edge in the Air Force department. Its armed forces also have a much larger number of tanks and armored vehicles than Ukraine does. And it has 70 submarines, more than double the number of Ukrainian warships.