Ukraine to call up 40,000 more soldiers in 2015

AFP , Friday 12 Dec 2014

File Photo: Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak delivers a speech during a parliament session, with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko seen in the background, in Kiev, October 14, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Ukraine says it will conscript 40,000 soldiers in 2015 and double its military budget as it tries to meet the demands of an ongoing conflict against pro-Russian rebels in its eastern provinces.

"We foresee calling up 40,000 men in 2015 and training 10,500 people who will do their service (as professional soldiers)," Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak told parliament.

Some will replace conscripts who have completed their tours of duty, so Poltorak said the total strength of the armed forces will increase to 250,000 from 232,000 this year.

Ukraine scrapped conscription in October 2013 only to be forced to reinstate it this May in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of a pro-Russian insurgency in the east.

In 2013, Ukraine had only 130,000 people in its armed forces and called up less than 25,000 people for military service.

Poltorak said the military budget would more than double to 50 billion hyrvnias (2.5 billion euros, $3.2 billion).

The conflict in the east has cost more than 4,300 lives and displaced close to a million people according to the most recent UN figures.

Short link: