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Ukraine’s 2015 military budget to double — defense minister

December 12, 2014, 14:18 UTC+3 KIEV

Some 40,000 people will be called up for Ukrainian military service next year, bringing the number of troops to 250,000, Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said

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Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak

Ukraine's Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak

© Maxim Nikitin/TASS

KIEV, December 12. /TASS/. Ukraine plans to increase by 100% the country’s military spending next year to 50 billion hryvnias (some $3.2 billion), Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak told the parliament on Friday.

“When approving the draft budget, the Defense Ministry judged from threats posed before the country and the need to form well-trained and well-equipped armed forces,” Poltorak said.

Some 40,000 people will be called up for Ukrainian military service next year, bringing the number of troops 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 army and security in 2015.

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

Yatsenyuk said Ukraine has already received $9 billion in foreign financial aid. As part of the EU aid program, Kiev is to receive up to €11 billion by 2020. The EU has already disbursed two tranches, worth €500 million and €800 million.

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 already announced 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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