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Ukraine’s national guard soldiers stop picket in Kiev

October 14, 2014, 5:27 UTC+3 KIEV
They demanded an immediate demobilization
1 pages in this article
© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, October 14. /TASS/. Servicemen of Ukraine’s ‘national guard’ have lifted a picket in front of the Presidential Administration office, 112 Ukraina channel said.

The soldiers in uniforms started living Bankovskaya Street after First Deputy Chief of the Administration, Gennady Zubko, told them the protesters who would return to their bases would not be punished.

On Monday, about 500 conscript soldiers of the ‘national guard’ put up a picket in front of the Presidential Administration office demanding an immediate demobilization. Ukrainian media said the action was organized after the soldiers stationed at Nove Petrivtsi near Kiev had held a four-day action demanding the allowance, which they had not received for quite some time. Also, they demanded that winter uniforms be handed out to them.

“I’ve served for six months,” a soldier from among the protesters told TASS. “Who are we actually - conscripts or contract soldiers? If we are the latter, why are we still paid $ 11.5 a month like we were paid previously? And please show us the document that allows to keep us (in the army) after the tour of duty,” he said. 

The senior commander of the ‘national guard’, Stepan Poltorak dismissed the conscript soldiers’ demands as illegitimate but promised the soldiers to raise their monthly allowances substantially and to pay other bonuses to them.

“The servicemen who have spent in the army six and more months will get a bonus and this will be done on October 15 at the latest,” he said

First deputy commander of the ‘national guard’, Anatoly Krivenko, offered soldiers some brief leaves but said this opportunity would be offered only to those who had done more than six months in the army and those who needed a vacation dramatically.

Ukraine’s chief military prosecutor Anatoly Matios, on his part, promised the participants in the protest to consider their claims and voiced the hope to escort them to their bases and to clear out the details of their claims there.

President Petro Poroshenko said during a working trip to the northeastern city of Kharkov last Saturday there was no opportunity for demobilization of the ‘national guard’ conscripts right at the moment.

Chances for demobilization would appear only where there was permanent ceasefire, the line of defence was built and the Ukrainian brigades were placed into combat formations.

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