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Ukrainian president suggests increasing army to 250,000 people

March 02, 2015, 14:46 UTC+3 KIEV
At the end of 2014, the Ukrainian army counted around 232,000 people
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko inspecting military vehicle, July 2014

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko inspecting military vehicle, July 2014

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Merkiv

KIEV, March 2. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed to increase the size of the army to 250,000 people, according to a draft law registered in the Verkhovna Rada on Monday.

The draft law envisages increasing the size of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to 250,000 people, including 204,000 servicemen.

"The draft law has been developed for legal regulation of the size of Ukraine’s Armed Forces which will ensure the timely deployment of a particular group of forces for deterrence, resistance to armed aggression and liquidation of the armed conflict," the draft law says.

The size of the Ukrainian army at the beginning of 2014 stood at 168,000 people, including 125,000 servicemen, according to the media. At the end of 2014, the number grew to 232,000 people.

In December 2014, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said it is necessary to increase the size of the army to 250,000 people. Poltorak also said that Ukraine’s Defense Ministry plans to call up for military service up to 40,000 people and train 10,500 contract soldiers.

The Russian president in late January compared Ukraine's army to a NATO legion with a geopolitical goal to contain Russia in late January. 

"In essence, this is already not an army, but a foreign legion, in this case NATO’s foreign legion that certainly does not pursue the goal of defending Ukraine’s national interests,” the president said.

Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Oleksadr Turchynov said in mid-December that Ukrainian authorities had set an ambitious task of building one of the strongest armies in Europe and bringing Crimea back from Russia. He said the country’s Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry would get a more than 10% share in the total budget spending for 2015 estimated at $31 billion. A total of 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) of cash-strapped Ukraine would go to the army.

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