Ukraine plans to raise wages while reducing number of soldiers
Kiev, Ukraine: Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has said that government is planning to raise a professional army by reducing the number of people but offering them higher wages and professional training.
It may be mentioned that Army training for over six month is compulsory for youth in Ukraine at least one time in their life because Ukraine it has no proper big structural army. Ukraine had biggest cache of nuclear arsenals when it got independence but withdrew its whole cache of nuclear weapons on the direction of United States, Russia and United Kingdom who took responsibility of protection of Ukraine if it ever faced external threats.
The head of the Interior Ministry wrote on his facebook page that Army is necessary for country and government is trying to transform Army into a professional contract basis, reducing the number of troops and increasing real wages of skilled military.
“As a minister and a member of the National Security Council, I have given my proposals for making a professional army without delay to Commander-in-Chief —President Poroshenko.
After more than a year of fighting in eastern Ukraine, its regular army remains disorganized, poorly equipped and under wages and young volunteers are fighting against pro-Russian separatists. There were news in Ukrainian media that President Poroshenko wanted to test ability and capability of army for one more year before offering higher wages and better financial opportunities but now Defence Minister indicating that such news are not correct and better pay structure will be offered after slicing total number of forces.
Building up an army to withstand the threat from Russia and pro-Russian separatists has been a big task for Ukraine. When Moscow annexed Crimea and conflict erupted in Ukraine’s east, Kiev had outdated Soviet equipment and just 180,000 troops, of whom only 5,000 were battle ready.
The government has since boosted military spending to an unprecedented 5 percent of gross domestic product and increased troop numbers to 250,000. Some 50,000 are actively serving in the east. But examples of incompetence and corruption within the military regularly appear in Ukrainian media. In June, Segodnya newspaper reported that an administrative error had left eight servicemen on their way to the front stranded for days in the city of Kharkiv. Vladislav Seleznyov, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military, denied any error and said the eight men had gone left battalion without informing anybody and came back in a state of intoxication and refused to go to the conflict zone. Military police guarded them for eight days and then officials from brigade collected them to take them to the front. “They physically resisted, saying, ‘We won’t go,'” said Seleznyo.
In a separate case, a wounded serviceman took four months to prove to the Defense Ministry that he was alive after it mistakenly classified him as “killed in action” and stopped paying his salary. In a statement, the Ministry blamed an administrative error and said the money had now been paid.
A number of families have also faced delays in receiving compensation for soldiers killed in combat and military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, has written on his Facebook several times about cases where the military has been slow to compensate families. He also told media that he had investigated numerous cases of bribery and theft in military system in the past year. He was of the view while talking to media that it would require a big change in attitudes for real progress. “Society wants irreversible and immediate change because the economic situation has been bad for so long. Not enough has been done either by us, by the government or by lawmakers,” he said. “We have laws but we don’t have the culture of implementing them,” he said.