NSDC should find effective solutions to improve the situation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko emphasized today at the NSDC meeting opening discussion of the question on defensive potentialities of the state and urgent measures on ensuring the ability of the Armed Forces and other military formations to perform their constitutional duty. "

"I am extremely concerned about the situation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine", said Yushchenko, president's press office reported. "... The army has become a hostage of empty populism”. He also said that through the approach of some politicians, especially the lack of adequate Government’s attention today the level of combat readiness of the army is being lost.

The President reminded that due to lack of state funding 25 military camps were disconnected from power, not a single ship or aircraft was repaired for the military this year, development of national operational-tactical missile system "has reached a deadlock", etc.

"These and many other fact suggest that the Army has become hostage to political intrigues and speculations; that Ukrainian army does not get adequate attention of state authorities - mainly of the Government", said Yushchenko.

He also reminded of a number of proposals on modernization of Ukrainian military the Prime Minister and her political power made at the elections of 2007, particularly to begin a full transition to professional army in 2008 and completion of the process by the end of 2009. However, said Victor Yushchenko, in the second half of 2008 "the reverse process has begun: last year the number of contractors has decreased by almost 10 percent”.

The President also reminded that despite the Government’s promise to cancel conscription for military service from January 1, 2008, in the spring of 2009 the number of conscripts increased by nearly 6 thousand people.

He drew special attention to the fact that this year the share of defense spending is only 1.1% of GDP (actually 0.8% considering the inflation) compared to 1.28% in 2007. "This is a critical limit, when experts speak about the process of irreversible destruction of combat readiness of any national army", said President Yushchenko.

"I put up this issue at the NSDC agenda for only one reason: we must make proper assessment of this process. I will not allow us roll down in this problem further until we get incapable army. We should now agree on how we would give appropriate assistance to the Ukrainian army, raise the status of Ukrainian soldiers and officers, and support in the development and training of the army", he said.


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