If judged by the numbers, Ukraine's military loses war with Russia
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
- Russia's armed forces number 774,500; Ukraine has just 139,000, a report says
- Acting defense minister said to believe Ukraine doesn't have the military force to prevail
- Ukraine's government has seen its main threats as internal destabilization
(CNN) -- If a full-fledged war erupts, Ukraine's military would be dwarfed by its neighbor to the north.
As of last month, Russian armed forces numbered 774,500 versus 139,000 for Ukraine, according to Jane's Information Group.
And Russia's defense budget -- $78 billion in 2012 -- dwarfs that of Ukraine -- $1.6 billion in 2012, according to Jane's Defence Weekly.
An article published in June 2011 cited a military expert's prediction that Ukraine would find itself in a "defensive vacuum" for a decade if investment were to remain unchanged.
Ukraine prime minister: 'This is a red alert'
Ex-U.S. adviser: Russia violating international law
Valentin Badrak, director of the Ukrainian Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, was quoted in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper -- cited by Jane's -- as saying that programs for developing the Ukrainian Armed Forces were "at a zero level."
The government, pointing to a 2010 study, said there was no need for a big army because Ukraine's primary threats came not from the outside but from internal political destabilization.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Ukraine has 15.7 million males and females ages 16-49 fit for military service.
Compare that with 45.6 million Russians of similar age who are fit for military service.
Those figures may have been on the mind of Ukraine's acting defense minister, Ihor Tenyuh, on Sunday. He told a closed session of parliament then that Ukraine does not have the military force to resist Russia, according to two parliamentary members present at the meeting.
He called for diplomacy to resolve the crisis with Russia, they said.
Journalist Victoria Butenko in Kiev, Ukraine, contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
Photos illustrate the ongoing crisis in Ukraine as fighting continues to flare in the region.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
A 20-minute drive from Kiev takes you to a neighborhood that feels more like Beverly Hills than central Ukraine.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Nearly six months since popular protests toppled Yanukovych, fighting between Ukraine's military and pro-Russia rebels continues.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1234 GMT (2034 HKT)
Western leaders stepped up sanctions, but the Russian President shows no sign of backing down.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1236 GMT (2036 HKT)
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit its growth, even before food sanctions begin to bite.
August 4, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Despite mortar fire echoing in the distance, the international team combed through the wreckage of MH17.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1108 GMT (1908 HKT)
The road isn't easy -- past shelling and eerie separatist checkpoints. But where it leads is harder still.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1631 GMT (0031 HKT)
Future imports, exports between the EU and Russia are now banned -- but existing contracts continue.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
The Cold War aerial games of chicken portrayed in "Top Gun" are happening in real life again nearly 30 years later.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
More Russian aggression in Ukraine. More U.S. and European sanctions imposed on Moscow.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Air accident investigators normally reach crash sites soon after a plane has gone down, what does the delay in reaching MH17 mean?
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0001 GMT (0801 HKT)
Deadly violence, ongoing tensions and the deliberate downing of a passenger airplane. Why should Americans worry?
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
The shooting down of MH17 may finally alert Washington and Europe to the danger of the conflict in Ukraine.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2304 GMT (0704 HKT)
The United States and its allies are angrier at Russia now over Ukraine, but will they do anything more about it?
The U.S. releases satellite images it says shows the Russian military has fired across its border with Ukraine.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
August 1, 2014 -- Updated 2037 GMT (0437 HKT)
Information about Ukraine, the second-largest European country in area after Russia.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1725 GMT (0125 HKT)
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on securing the MH17 crash site and negotiating with the separatists.
Learn more about the victims, ongoing investigation and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 0700 GMT (1500 HKT)
When passengers boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 last week, they couldn't have known they were about to fly over a battlefield.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0925 GMT (1725 HKT)
The downing Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 put the pro-Russia rebels operating in Ukraine's eastern region center stage.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
Increased fighting around the MH17 crash scene blocks international investigators. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
In the tangled aftermath of the disaster, two narratives emerge -- one from most of the world subscribes to, and another from Russia.
Today's five most popular stories