Ukraine entered World War I on both of the Central Powers side (German Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Bulgaria) under Austria, and the Triple Entente (Great Britain, France and Russia), under Russia. There were 3.5 million Ukrainians that fought with the Imperial Russian Army, and 250,000 fought for the Austro-Hungarian Army. During the war, Austro-Hungarian authorities established the Ukrainian Legion to fight against the Russian Empire.
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This legion was the foundation of the Ukrainian Galician Army. The Ukrainian Galician Army reached its greatest strength in 1919, it had 70,000 to 75,000 men, including reserves. It had very limited cavalry but artillery was their strength. They had 2-3 armored cars and two armored trains. Their air force fielded 40 airplanes, and until April 1919 had air superiority over the Poles.
Ukraine’s commitment to regional and global security has been consistently demonstrated. From 2003 to 2005, Ukraine participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2005, deploying a mechanized brigade of 1,650 servicemen. Ukraine also currently participates in the NATO Training Mission in Iraq. In Afghanistan, Kiev (Capital of Ukraine) granted over flight rights to NATO aircraft flying en route to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Today, its servicemen participate in the International Security Assistance Force. Ukraine is the only non-NATO country participating in these four current NATO-led Operations and Missions. It’s also recognized for contributions to the United Nations (UN) peace support operations around the World, including operations in Liberia, Sudan, and Georgia.
Ukraine’s geostrategic location is significant for its location at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, its status as the largest country in Europe outside Russia, and a population of 46 million. Ukraine serves as a key transit country for European energy, occupies an important position in the region of the Black Sea country, and provides a port for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine declared its independence from Soviet Union on 24 August 1991 and chose the path toward democracy and developed ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In February 1994, it became the first member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace. In December 1995, Ukrainian Soldiers were deployed as part of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and continues to be a great contributor to NATO and other international operations.
Minor Adversary –Multi-culturalism has caused conflicts with the national identity between Ukraine and Russia. There is a large amount of different ethnic groups that make up Ukraine, such as Russians, Jews, Romanians, Polish, Hungarians and others. Most ethnic Ukrainians live in Ukraine and make up over three-quarters of the population.
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