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Russian deputy PM says Ukraine should see threat in itself

December 13, 2014, 11:08 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“We face threats not only in the east, but also in the south. And there the troops should be not cut, but increased,” Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said

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MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Twitter Ukraine should see threat in itself.

On Friday, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said his country would base the defence policies on the treats from the east and from the south.

“We face threats not only in the east, but also in the south. And there the troops should be not cut, but increased, and we have been working on a decision on that,” the minister said. “We shall have not a battalion there, but more, as there are threats from Transdniestria.”

Rogozin wrote in a comment: “Their major threat is not in the west or in the east. They should rather see it in themselves.”

On Friday, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak told the parliament the country plans to increase by 100% its military spending next year to 50 billion hryvnias (some $3.2 billion).

“When forming the draft budget, the Defence Ministry judged from threats facing the country and the need to form up well-trained and equipped armed forces,” Poltorak said.

Some 40,000 people will be called up for Ukrainian military service next year, bringing the troop numbers to 250,000, the minister said.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier some 5% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will be allocated for enhancing the armed forces and security in 2015.

According to official data, Ukraine’s external debt has reached already $72.9 billion, and $14 billion has been repaid so far. Yatsenyuk said on Thursday the country’s gold and foreign currency reserves dropped below $10 billion and there were no grounds that they would increase.

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine has received already $9 billion in foreign financial aid. As part of the EU aid program, Kiev is to receive up to eleven billion euros by 2020. The EU has already disbursed two tranches, worth 500 million euros and 800 million euros.

The International Monetary Fund has earmarked $1.39 billion to Kiev.

Meanwhile, the increase in Ukraine’s military budget will be apparently at the expense of social spending. The government has announced already plans to cut state spending by $1.73 billion, with over half of funds accounting for the social sector.

Ukraine’s Finance Ministry has introduced a new social policy under which some 100,000 teachers are to be sacked over two years. Currently, the number of unemployed in the country with a 42 million-strong population reaches 2 million.

The spending on Ukraine’s science and education will also be cut by $200 million. Over 400 schools in rural areas will be closed, and some social benefits, including free meals and extra payment for academic degrees, will be scrapped.

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