Victor Yushchenko attended Tuesday a celebration to mark the fifteen-year anniversary of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, president's press office reported.  

In his speech, the President said he supported reforms instituted by the leadership of the Defense Ministry and personally Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko.

“I unambiguously call on the country’s responsible political forces to create normal conditions for introducing reforms in the army and not to politicize its problems,” he said, expressing confidence the Defense Ministry would remain one of the leaders in the implementation of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic policy.

Yushchenko said Ukraine’s participation in military exercises was a sign of the country’s improved defense capabilities.  He added that the Armed Forces became more open.

“Our society is aware of the problems facing the army and understands that outdated Soviet equipment can no longer satisfy us,” he said.

The country strives to create a powerful, multifunctional, mobile, professional and well equipped army, in accordance with the State Program for the Development of the Armed Forces, he said.  

The President said the improvement of military discipline and the renewal of respect for life and human dignity were among the main tasks of reforms in the army.

“I will tolerate no violation of this principle,” he said. “I urge generals, majors, captains and sergeants to be conscious of their responsibility for those eighteen-year-olds they have to bring up. […] This is a matter of honor.”  

It is also important to improve welfare of the military, he said, assuring those present this issue was considered when preparing next year’s budget.

“If we do not learn to support our own army, we will support a foreign army. This rule is as old as the world. I want the nation, parliament and government to understand this truth,” he said.

Following the speech, Victor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief, presented ensigns and state awards to army commanders.


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