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KIEV, October 14 (Itar-Tass) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Monday signed a decree on the last conscription to the Ukrainian army and transition to a contract military service.
“I signed a decree on Monday morning. There will be no conscription any longer. The document prescribes the procedure of retirement from regular service and how the last conscripts will be recruited to military service,” Yanukovich said at a meeting with women, the heroes of Ukraine. The president added that conscription to regular service would continue in internal troops.
The Ukrainian president motivated his decision to create a professional army in Ukraine by the need to attract top-class experts who will be able to use advanced military hardware.
“Today, high professional skills are needed to operate our military hardware and military technologies. The equipment is complicated. Therefore, the army should be professional. Military professionals are supposed to guard the security of our state,” Yanukovich went on to say.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavel Lebedev told journalists at a recent meeting that the strength of the Ukrainian army was 180,000 people, including 80,000 in combat units and 100,000 in combat service support units. The Ukrainian Navy, Air Force and commando units are predominantly staffed with contract servicemen. That is not true of the land troops. A total of 6,800 contract servicemen have joined the Ukrainian armed forces since the start of 2013 and their number is expected to rise to 7,000 by year’s end. A total of 4,800 contract servicemen are expected to join the army in 2014; about 5,000 in 2005 and 4,500-5,000 in 2016-2017. After the army reform, the strength of combat units will be 70,000 people while the army support units will have 50,000 servicemen.