Ukraine’s military is far smaller than Russia’s, but there are 3 reasons it might not be so easy to crush.
Judging by numbers alone, that would probably seem a very one-sided battle. "I think most experts would agree that a fight between the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces would not be a fair fight," Marybeth P. Ulrich, a professor in the U.S. Army War College's Department of National Security and Strategy, told The Washington Post in an e-mail. "While Ukraine has a good number of forces (129, 950), they are vastly outnumbered by Russia (845,000)." "The air and naval assets decidedly favor Russia too," Ulrich continued.There is not much to speak of with regard to the Ukrainian navy (17 assorted vessels) vs. Russia's Black Sea Fleet (Russia has 171 vessels overall) which of course is situated right in Crimea and has been instrumental in taking control of Crimea from within." War isn't just about the numbers, however, and there are some bright spots for the Ukrainian military:
So far at least, the military is loyal. Ukrainians view their military with significant national pride: When the Guardian's Shaun Walker visited a Ukrainian marine base in Crimea recently, he spoke to one marine -- an ethnic Russian, no less -- who explained why he had to fight. "I am Russian myself, I was born there," he said. "But we are professional soldiers and we have given an oath of duty. We will not give up this place without a fight." While there have been defections in the Ukrainian navy already, so far they seem to be limited, a pretty remarkable thing when you consider the ethnic divides in the country. In fact, Russian aggression might be something that actually unites the country behind the military. "If the military is unified against a foreign invader," said Matthew Clements, deputy head of Europe/CIS Analysis at IHS Country Risk, "with the support of the majority of the population, then that would be an important morale booster."