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Ukraine – Historical Military Flags

Last modified: 2023-07-29 by martin karner
Keywords: ukraine | sweden | cavalry | sich riflemen legion |
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Ukraine Cavalry Standard of 1706

One of the treasures of the Swedish State Trophy Collection in Stockholm is of Ukrainian origin. It was captured by Swedish troops near Nieswiez not so far from Grodno (Belarus) in 1706.

One of the leading commanders of Hetman Ivan Mazepa, Colonel Mychaylo Myklashevski, had before the Swedish-Ukrainian alliance of 1708 been attached to Russian troops fighting the Swedes on demand by the Russians. He fell during the skirmish with Swedish troops.

The very large cavalry standard is 176 centimeters high and with a varying width from 99 to 264 centimeters. The cloth is of wine-red silk damask. Of the gilded inscriptions generally only the impressions remain. On the tongue can be seen a golden double eagle, surrounded by the initials of the titles of the two co-reigning brothers, Tsars Ivan and Peter. Down in the lower part is a medallion with the coat of arm of Mazepa, surrounded by the initials of his titles as Hetman of the Zaporozhian Kozaks and another coat of arms, surrounded by the initials M M P (Mykhaylo Mykalevschky Polkovnik (Colonel in Starodub from 1690). Also I M G can be seen (Ivan Mazepa Getman).

The chief motif consists of Archangel Michael - the Colonel's namesake - and a text which in translation runs: "Michael with his sword will aid the Christians, the time is past when the Muslims will be victorious over the Christians. Michael will destroy them as he destroyed the Evil One."

Motifs are painted in different colours, gold and now blackened silver.

On the reverse of the standard the central motif is the Virgin and the Holy Child with Mary standing on the crescent of the moon. The text on this side runs in translation: "The half moon is the sign of the Ottomans. They wish to conquer the Christians and defeat them. Mother of Christ, full of grace, has placed herself above the moon; thereby the hopes of the Turks have been destroyed."

The large size of the standard is originally a type of medieval cavalry standard. It was during the 16th and 17th century replaced by a smaller square standard in Western Europe. This development, however, occurred around a century later in Russia and Ukraine. The text relates to the almost continual state of war between Ukraine, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. The standard was probably produced sometime between 1690 - 1696. The Holy Virgin was the patroness of the Zaporozhian Kozaks of Ukraine.

So it is ironical that a cavalry standard of Sweden's ally Ukraine was captured by Swedish troops just before the alliance. Also it was tragic and ironical that Colonel Myklashevski had to die fighting Swedish troops. The standard and others ought to be of interest to Ukrainian scholars of military history. Due to preservation policies standards and banners of the collection at the Army Museum in Stockholm unfortunately are rarely on display. But Ukrainian scholars would certainly have access to this standard and others.

Bertil Haggman, 4 February 1998

Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (U.S.S.) Legion (1916)

At, one can see image of the flag (both sides) of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (U.S.S.) Legion.
There is another image of flag at
Some information in English at /
Dov Gutterman, 25 June 2002

Ukrainian Insurgent Army, 1942–1956

image by BlinxCat

This flag, sometimes seen in the early period of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, is clearly that of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army that existed from 1942 until 1956, they were a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary and later partisan formation.
BlinxCat, 25 February 2022

image by BlinxCat

Ukrainian Insurgent Army (since 1956) – Stepan Bandera flags

image located by William Garrison


Caption: A red/black flag with a portrait of Stepan Bandera, controversial former leader of the WWII-era "Ukrainian Insurgent Army" {UPA} (Ukrainian: Українська повстанська армія, УПА, Ukrayins'ka povstans'ka armiya, abbreviated UPA). Image from a rally in Kiev, Ukraine, on 5 January 2015, marking the 106th anniversary of his birth. Photograph: Nikitin Maxim/Nikitin Maxim/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis
William Garrison
, 17 May 2022

image located by William Garrison


Caption: A red/black flag with unknown white slogans with a facial outline portrait of UPA leader Stepan Bandera; c. 2022.
William Garrison, 17 May 2022

Upper text: "We now have one main principle, one main goal – the Sovereign Cathedral State of Ukraine. We go steadily towards it. And our path is the path of revolutionary liberation struggle." (1948)
Lower text: "When the people choose bread between bread and freedom, they ultimately lose everything, including bread. If the people choose freedom, they will have bread grown by themselves and not taken away by anyone."
(Google translation provided by Zachary Harden)

image located by William Garrison


Caption: a red/black flag of the UPA with a portrait of UPA leader Stepan Bandera and Ukrainian "trident" coat-of-arms; c, 2022.
William Garrison
, 17 May 2022

Ukrainian Insurgent Army – Commentative Flag

image by Pete Loeser

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) (Українська повстанська армія, УПА) was a Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary force founded by the national fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. During World War II, they engaged in guerrilla warfare against Soviet invaders, Communist Polish invaders, and Nazi German invaders, trying to rid Ukraine of all outsiders and establish self-rule. Unfortunately, they are still trying.
The top flag text of "Слава Україні!" translates as "Glory to Ukraine!" However, I'm not sure what the phrase on the bottom is, but "Слава!" is "Glory!" in Ukrainian (source). – Because of the current Russian Federation's intrusion into the Ukraine commentative flags such as this have become increasing popular.
Pete Loeser, 24 July 2023 (2x)

The text on the bottom says "Glory to the Heroes!" (Heroiam slava!).
Zachary Harden, 24 July 2023

The flag of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was a plain red-black bicolor. The variants charged with additional symbols, such as the one presented here, are modern derivations, some of which being already presented on this page.
Tomislav Todorovic, 24 July 2023