Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops Day in Ukraine Date in the current year: July 3, 2024

Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops Day in Ukraine Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops Day is one of the official holidays celebrated in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Observed annually on July 3, it was established by the then Minister of Defense of Ukraine Mykhaylo Yezhel.

Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile troops were officially created as the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces in 1992, shortly after the proclamation of the independence of Ukraine in 1991. They were formed from anti-aircraft missile units of the 8th Separate Army of the Air Defense Forces of the Soviet Armed Forces, which was headquartered in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. In 2004, the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces were merged with the Ukrainian Air Force.

Today, all three branches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have anti-aircraft missile troops: the Air Force, the Ground Forces, and the Navy. The main task of anti-aircraft missile troops is to protect the country’s key military and political facilities, industrial facilities and energy infrastructure from air strikes. Ukraine has at least 40 important objects that need permanent air defense:

  • Five nuclear power plants: the Zaporizhzhia NPP in Enerhodar, the South Ukraine NPP in Yuzhnoukrainsk, the Rivne NPP in Varash, the Khmelnytskyi NPP in Netishyn, and the Chornobyl NPP in Prypiat.
  • Five dams of the Dnipro cascade of hydroelectric power plants: the Kyiv dam in Vyshhorod, the Kaniv dam in Kaniv, the Kremenchuk dam in Svitlovodsk, the Middle Dnipro dam in Kamianske, and the Dnipro dam in Zaporizhzhia (the sixth dam, the Kakhov dam in Nova Kakhovka, was blown up by Russian troops on Jule 6, 2023).
  • Two dams of the Dniester cascade of hydroelectric power plants: Dniester-1 dam in Nodovnistrovsk and Dniester-2 in Nahoriany.
  • Enterprises and infrastructure of the chemical industry (storages, pipelines) and cities where such enterprises and infrastructure are located.
  • Cities that have special administrative significance and most populous cities. They include Kyiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kryvyi Rih, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and others.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, anti-aircraft missile troops have played a crucial role in the country’s defense from the invading Russian armed forces. Their contribution was especially significant during the first hours of the invasion, when Russian troops bombarded Ukraine’s air defense system, and anti-aircraft missile troops protected it by systematically destroying Russian missiles, aircraft and drones.

Working together with other troops of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, anti-aircraft missile troops protect Ukrainian skies using various types of surface-to-air missile systems. Before the invasion, much of the equipment used by Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile troops was outdated, but military aid from Western countries has helped to make Ukraine’s air defense more effective. As of 2023, Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile troops operated a range of SAM systems, including 9K33 Osa, Buk, Tor, S-125 Neva/Pechora, C-300, IRIS-T SLM, NASAMS, FSAF SAMP/T, and MIM-104 Patriot.

Anti-Aircraft Missile Troops Day was established to celebrate their contribution to the country’s defense. Originally relatively unknown outside of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, it has gained new importance since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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