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Ukrainian defense chief warns deplorable pay driving military officers to leave in droves

July 30, 2018, 12:30 UTC+3 KIEV

As many as 11,000 military officers have quit the Ukrainian Army over low wages

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© Mikhail Pochuev/TASS

KIEV, July 30. /TASS/. As many as 11,000 military officers have quit the Ukrainian Army over low wages, the country’s Defense Minister Semyon Poltorak said in a message to Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, as cited by ukrmilitary.com.

"A total of 11,000 military officers and contracted personnel with combat experience resigned from the Armed Forces in the January to June period, while another 18,000 are expected to resign before the end of 2018," the message reads.

"At the beginning of 2016, military personnel were paid a minimum wage of 7,000 hryvnias ($262)," Poltorak went on to say. "At that time, this amount was a considerable sum of money which amounted to about five minimum wages and was about 1.6 times the average salary in the country. The sweeping nationwide hikes on indexing minimum wages and incomes starting on January 1, 2017, brought about a deterioration in the economic situation of military personnel, compelling many to leave the army," the message adds.

Ukrainian military personnel are currently receiving monthly payments of 7,500 ($280) hryvnias for their first year of service, while the average salary in the country is 8,700 hryvnias ($325).

As a result, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has requested that military allowances be raised starting from October 1, 2018, so that the minimum wage of privates will go up to 9,000 ($337) hryvnias and officers’ salaries will rise to 15,300 hryvnias ($572). The government will have to earmark 4.5 bln hryvnias ($168 mln) to accomplish this goal. "Additional 4.5 hryvnias ($168 mln) need to be allocated to pay military allowances in the second half of 2018, which is to be taken into account when tweaking expenditure targets for the 2018 state budget," a source in the Defense Ministry pointed out.

The ministry also drew up documents necessary for increasing military pay in 2019, saying that contracted military personnel should get a minimum monthly wage of 15,000 hryvnias ($560), while other military allowances should be raised depending on rank, position and length of service.

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