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Ukraine at 30 13

On 1 September 2021, Ukraine celebrated 30 years as an independent state again, after dissolution of the Soviet Union. On 24 August, various festivities were organised. One of those was a huge military parade in Kyiv.roundel UKR

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Before the parade started, various demonstrations of vessels on the Dnepr were performed. Part of the naval demonstration of the Independence Celebrations was the insertion of troops on Trukhaniv Island in the Dnper River in the center of Kyiv. This Mi-8MT was used to fast-rope troops.

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Special forces showed off their skills as well.

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Opening the parade was a flag bearing Mi-8MTV, followed by a quartet of Mi-8MSB-V. This is a version that is locally upgraded by Motor Sich witn a more powerful engine and updated avionics.

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Ukraine inherited a large number of Mi-24s from the Soviet Union. They are also used for United Nations missions in the Congo. Illustrated is the sole example of the formation without registration.

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The Navy sent two Mi-14s anti-submarine helicopters, borts 35 and 37 "yellow".

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In recent years, Ukraine also sourced assets in Western Europe. Among that is a large order of H225s for the National Guard and Ministry of Emergency Services. The former have these grey painted ones with yellow bort codes, while the latter sport high visibility colours with blue bort codes.

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Law enforcement has aerial assets as well as is demonstrated by this Police H145. Also, the Border Guard (DPSU) was present with new aircraft, two DA42s borts 24 and 25 "blue" joined, the former is shown here.

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Mainstay of the transport fleet is the An-26. This type is used by the air force in various grey and splinter camouflage schemes as well as medicial evacuation livery.

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Aerial fire fighting is done with four An-32s dedicated to this task. In the summer of 2021, two were deployed to Turkey to fight brush fires there. The State Emergency Service of Ukraine operates these (Державна служба України з надзвичайних ситуацій (ДСНС України).)

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After the helicopters and transports, the An-72 opened the fast jet part of the parade. Strange looking swans from this angle, with only one engine of each visible in this shot!

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Next up was some heavy metal in the shape of the Ilyushin Il-76MD freighter, flanked by two Su-27S1M fighters.

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Another formation featured four Su-25 Grach ground support aircraft, which showed their modern look with a digital camouflage.

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During the Soviet era, there was a very substantial number of bombers and fighter-bombers stationed in Ukraine. Well over 300 Su-24 were inherited and currently still serve with the 7th tactical air brigade 7 BrTA (7-а бригада тактичної авіації (7 БрТА)) at Starokostiantyniv.

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One of the more enigmatic aircraft in use is of course the Su-27.

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The bright blue camouflaged machines are used by 39 BrTA (39-та бригада тактичної авіації (39 БрТА)) from Ozerne and 831 BrTA (831-а бригада тактичної авіації (831 БрТА) from Myrhorod.

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The grand finale of the parade consisted of four MiG-29 fighters, coming from units at Lutsk and Vasyl'kiv. They passed straight overhead at high speed.

Because the parade is not always an ideal venue for decent photographs, we decided to try our luck at Vasyl'kiv air base, to the Southwest of Kyiv. This was used as staging post for the parade by some of the participants. With plenty of MiG-29s and Su-25s as well as most of the helicopters taking off from there, this proved to be a wise decision.

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The 204 BrTA from Luts'k sent a delegation of their MiG-29s with blue bort codes.

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Of ocurse, local unit 40 BrTA (40-а бригада тактичної авіації (40 БрТА)), like this 15 "white", participated as well. As you can see, nowadays all of them are in a three tone digital grey camouflage scheme too.

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The Antonov factory at Gostomel suffered severe damage during the 2022 Russian blitz military operations in Ukraine, maybe someday the mighty An-225 will be rebuilt?

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Another Antonov product, of more recent date, is the An-70, seen here flying by at Vasyl'kiv joining some of the other participants that took off from there.

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In 2021, foreign participation consisted of Polish Air Force F-16s, Slovak C-27J and Black Hawks. That friendship and support was very welcome six months later...