30 August 2015

Ukrainian Army Managed to Conscript Only Half of the Troops It Needs

Jaroslaw Adamowski
August 27, 2015

Ukraine Conscription Falls Short by Half 

WARSAW — Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense managed to recruit only about half of the 25,000 conscripts it was hoping for, according to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Peter Mehed. The government is implementing its sixth military draft this year.

“Depending on how the situation develops, there could be a seventh, an eighth or ninth wave of mobilization. We’ve got 50 percent of the people we need,” Mehed told local broadcaster Ukraine Today.

With the conflict against Russian-backed insurgents in the country’s east continuing despite a cease-fire deal signed in February in Minsk, local observers say the government must transform the military into a professional force.

Earlier this month, Yuriy Biriukov, an adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, said in a televised interview that the ministry needs to raise its budget to an estimated 100 billion hryvnia (US $4.71 billion) per year to increase its number of professional troops.

As fighting in eastern Ukraine continues, the government is conducting a major military modernization program to upgrade the weapons and equipment, and purchase new gear.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Berlin on Monday on the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

“There is no alternative to the Minsk process,” Poroshenko said, as quoted in a statement by the president’s office. “We are confident that the Minsk process, which is based on the peace plan, is an absolutely universal instrument. Minsk is an immediate cease-fire. Minsk is a withdrawal of heavy weaponry and artillery.

"Russia and Russia-backed militants pose the only threat to the restoration of peace and stability in the region,” the president said.

The Minsk II deal was agreed to by the leaders of the Normandy Four group, which consists of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine.

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