On November 16, Ukraine’s naval infantry, or the Marines, celebrate their official birthday. The amphibious warfare unit has been considered one of the most prestigious service branches of the Ukrainian military – especially since the beginning of Donbas conflict.
Ukraine’s naval infantry is used as a component part of amphibious, airborne and amphibious-airborne operations, alone or in accordance with formations and units of the Army in order to capture parts of the seashore, islands, ports, fleet bases, coast airfields and other coast objects of the enemy. It can also be used to defend naval bases, vital areas of the shore, separate islands and coast objects, security of hostile areas.
Special reconnaissance units of the Marine Corps were deployed against insurgents during the Donbas conflict. The Ukrainian Marine Corps was particularly hard hit by the 2014 Crimean crisis as all of their forces except for the 73rd Spetsnaz detachment were stationed on the peninsula; due to this, the unit had to undergo extensive reorganization before being able to be deployed in Donbas. In September 2014, Ministry of Defense announced that fighters of the 1st Marine Battalion, which was stationed in Feodosiya, Crimea, would take an active part in the Donbas conflict. Since then, the Ukrainian Marines have brought glory to their unit in tough battles and suffered bitter casualties.
The ideal goal in the ongoing reform of the Naval Infantry Corps is to form a unit which would be similar to the units sent to Iraq. It is planned that there will be no more conscripts in the Naval Infantry, only professional naval infantrymen.
Since the beginning of Donbas conflict in spring 2014, 372 Ukrainian Marines were decorated with awards, 26 of them posthumously. President Petro Poroshenko said that when holding a speech in Mariupol on this occasion on November 16. ‘The Ukrainian Marines have been selflessly performing their duty, proving their invincible spirit, courage, bravery, professionalism, with no regret for the most valuable thing – their own lives. They are rightly considered pride of the Ukrainian Navy, the pride of the entire Ukrainian state. Their bright victories and deeds of valor, committed in fights against Russian terrorists, are forever inscribed in Ukraine’s military history,’ he said.