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Turchinov: situation on Ukraine’s southeastern border remains tense

April 03, 2014, 0:20 UTC+3 KIEV

He said earlier in the day that Ukraine was facing a strategic task of rearming its army

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© ITAR-TASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, April 02,  /ITAR-TASS/. The situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border in the south and southeast of the country remains tense, parliament-appointed acting President Alexander Turchinov said on Wednesday, April 2.

“The situation on this border is stable, the threat remains,” Turchinov told the Shuster Live programme on local television.

Speaking about the withdrawal of the Ukrainian military from Crimea, Turchinov said about 1,500 Ukrainian troops were still on the peninsula. “We are working on their redeployment to the mainland and to return the hardware, including the ships. A group of our officers is working on this in Crimea,” he said.

He said the government and the Defence Ministry were taking measures to provide the military returning from Crimea with temporary accommodation. “Enormous resources are being taken from the budget for both the army and those who are leaving Crimea. It’s very hard but there is no alternative,” Turchinov said.

He said earlier in the day that Ukraine was facing a strategic task of rearming its army.

Turchinov admitted that the Armed Forces had been financed by the leftover principle in recent years and “were systematically destroyed on orders from another country, disarmed and the best personnel dismissed” over the past four years.

Now the army “is basically rebuilding itself” and over a short period of time it has “been put in a state of full combat readiness”, Turchinov said.

“Rearming is now on the agenda,” he added as he was inspecting new samples of weapons - from firearms to tanks - made in Ukraine. He said “these are samples of Ukrainian weapons, the best weapons that will protect our country”.

Turchinov believes that the Ukrainian defence industry can sustain the full production cycle and will get government orders.

He stressed that rearmament “is a strategic task that must be fulfilled”.

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