President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday met with the officers of the 30th mechanized brigade in the city of Novograd-Volynsky and said military spending must be increased, President’s press office reports.

“It is a moral and ethical obligation to spend more on recruits, and this does not require very much money,” he said and added that the Government had already raised salaries for army officers this year.

Yushchenko criticized the cabinet for failing to achieve progress in resolving the army’s housing problem and destroying outdated ordnance, saying it was “one of our top priorities to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

Yushchenko, however, said there were quite a few improvements in the army, commending Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko and other military commanders for their efforts to create a professional army by 2010.

Speaking about attempts to politicize the armed forces, the President said each officer and soldier could have his or her own political views and preferences. “You must be as politically neutral as possible. It is really dangerous to politicize any law enforcement body, including the defense ministry.”


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