Key facts about the formation of the modern Marine Corps

Key facts about the formation of the modern Marine Corps

Formation of the Marine Corps during the independence period

Foundation for the creation of the Ukrainian Marine Corps was laid down in February 1992. Then the 880th separate Marine battalion, stationed in Sevastopol, swore allegiance to the Ukrainian people. However, the command of the Black Sea fleet of the Russian Federation in every possible way prevented the transfer of Marines under the jurisdiction of Ukraine. In the end, the battalion commander, Major Vitaliy Rozhmanov, and his deputies were dismissed from their posts, and the battalion itself was disbanded.

On July 1, 1993, after the creation of the Ukrainian Navy, the 27th separate Marine Battalion was formed in Sevastopol. It included the best officers of the Black Sea Fleet who wanted to serve Ukraine.

Occupation of Crimea

After the criminal occupation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, up to two hundred Marines (about a third) did not change their oath to the Ukrainian people and became the basis of the modern Marine Corps of Ukraine. They were relocated to Mykolaiv.

In 2014, two Marine battalions left Crimea for the mainland, but in a far incomplete composition, many military personnel remained on the occupied peninsula. We are talking about the 1st Feodosia separate Marine Battalion and the 501st from Kerch, which at that time existed only for a few months. Located in Mykolaiv, where a new division subsequently began to form

The city of Mykolaiv has been considered the unofficial “capital” of the Marine Corps since 2014. Now there is a Marine Corps School on the basis of the Navy training centre. Before the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, Ukrainian cadets acquired naval specialities in Sevastopol. However, even there, Marine officers were not trained, they came to the Marine Corps from different types and branches of the armed forces.

Structure of the Ukrainian Marine Corps

The structure of the Ukrainian Marine Corps includes:

  • 35th Separate Marine Brigade named after Counter-Admiral Mykhailo Ostrogradsky (founded in 2018);
  • 36th Separate Marine Brigade named after Counter-Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskyi (formed in 2015);
  • 406 Separate Artillery Brigade named after Cornet General Oleksiy Almazov;
  • 32 Reactive Artillery Regiment;
  • 503 Separate Marine Battalion;
  • 140 Separate Reconnaissance Battalion.

The process of developing the Marine Corps continues: the 37th and 38th brigades were recently created.

On May 23, 2023, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the creation of the Marine Corps in Ukraine. For the functioning of the Marine Corps, it is necessary to create a full-fledged control system, have a set of weapons and units to perform the tasks set. The formation of the Corps will begin even before the end of a full-scale war.

The Marine Corps must be self-sufficient and have the technical capabilities to capture the coast, capture a bridgehead, and advance deep into the captured territory.
Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Oleksiy Neizhpapa notes that for the full functioning of the Corps, it is also necessary to have amphibious, mine-fighting ships, attack drones, etc.

Interesting and little-known facts about the Marine Corps

From one company-tactical group, which in 2014 went to perform combat missions in the east of Ukraine, the Marine Corps has turned into a modern highly mobile branch of the armed forces with training grounds, training centres and a command.

Since 2018, officers in a separate speciality “Managing the actions of marine units” are trained at the Faculty of Training Specialists of the Air Assault Forces of the Military Academy in Odesa. No other military University in Ukraine has such a military speciality any more.

In recent years, 35 OBrMP and 36 OBrMP have received their own names — in honour of the Counter-Admirals of the times of the Ukrainian people’s Republic Mykhailo Ostrogradsky and Mykhailo Bilynskyi who were the creators of the Marine Corps of Ukraine during the Liberation struggle of 1917-1921.

In 2018, the colour of the berets of Ukrainian Marines changed: from black to the colour of the sea wave.

The slogan of the Marine Corps is Always faithful, symbolizing loyalty to the military oath, selfless service to the Ukrainian people and readiness to fulfil the tasks set under any conditions.

On the beret sign and banner of the Marine Corps there is the image of the “elated” sword of Hetman Petro Sahaidachny, one of the patrons of the Marine Corps, who fought with Muscovy and actively developed combat fleet of Zaporozhian Cossacks.

Marine Vitaliy Skakun, who blew up the Genichesky bridge in the Kherson region with him, became the first hero of Ukraine (posthumously) to be awarded this title after the start of a full-scale war.

About Volyna and the 36th OBrMP named after M. Bilynskyi

The 36th Separate Marine Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine named after Counter-Admiral Mykhailo Bilynskyi heroically defended Mariupol, subsequently withstanding the siege of Azovstal together with other Ukrainian units.

During those turbulent events, the future initiator of the Stalevi foundation, Serhiy Volynsky (Volyna), acting commander of the 36th Brigade, became one of the symbols of the invincibility of the Mariupol Garrison.

Back in early April 2022, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine devoted a separate statement to the Marines, who at that time had already held the defence of Mariupol for 45 days, although “most military textbooks say that a unit that defends itself in a full environment can withstand no more than a week in modern combat.”

Marines, together with soldiers of the Azov Regiment, border guards and other fellows, defended Azovstal until May 20, 2022. On that day, Volyna and other commanders were the last to leave the defensive line after the evacuation of all subordinates.

Serhiy and many other defenders were transferred to a prisoner-of-war colony in Olenivka, Donetsk region. After that, he spent a long time in Turkey, where he was interned on September 21, 2022 under the terms of a prisoner exchange. However, on July 8, 2023, the 500th day after the start of the full-scale invasion, unexpected news came about the return of Volyna and other Azovstal commanders to their homeland. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy personally met the heroes of Ukraine in Ankara.

As of now, Viktor Sikoza has become the new commander of the 36th Brigade. Under his leadership, the updated Brigade participated in the liberation of the Kherson region in the fall of 2022 and continues to perform extremely complex combat tasks in various sectors of the front.