Armed Forces

UAH 8 Billion Needed By The Ukrainian Army. Reforms Are Required As Well, Especially Within The Command Structure

Fot. Twitter / @poroshenko
Fot. Twitter / @poroshenko

Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Stepan Poltorak, in an official letter sent to  Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arnseniy Yatsenyuk, asked for additional funds – 7.7 billion hryvnias – required in order to support the Ukrainian Army.  The sum is an equivalent of USD 360 million.

According to the press releases published by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, the above mentioned assets are going to be divided in the following manner:

- UAH 3.9 billion – remuneration for the soldiers

- UAH 1.8 billion – clothing for the army

- UAH 1.3 billion – food for the army

- UAH 423.5 million – financial help for the families of the soldiers killed in the counter-terrorist operation

- UAH 181.8 million – for organization of training centres, firing grounds, field camps and road blocks,

- UAH 120 million – reimbursement related to the flat rental fees.

The 2015 budget allocated a sum of UAH 39.4 billion to support the army – (ca. USD 1.840 billion). This, current, budget is larger – by UAH 14 billion (ca. USD 653 million), than the sum allocated to defence back in 2014. In practical terms, all of these assets were used to acquire the new armament. Even though volunteering organizations are supporting the volunteers of the National Guard, more money is still needed. Fulfilling the Poltorak’s request would mean that the military budget would be three times larger than it currently is, in comparison with the last year, reaching a value of UAH 50 billion, i.e. ca. 2.335 billion US dollars.

As it was stated by the Ukrainian military expert, Yuriy Butusov, during his interview for the Ukrainian branch of the Deutsche Welle TV station “no concept regarding the potential reform of the Ukrainian Army exists”. He notes that President Poroshenko issued a regulation, the aim of which is to implement the changes in the development of the Ukrainian Army and the military doctrine, along with the armament procurement programme, back on 15th October 2014, however, so far, no decisions have been made within that scope.

Butusov stated that Ukraine shall follow the path taken by Poland or Bulgaria, both of which have successfully tailored their armies to the NATO standards. By following the steps undertaken by the above mentioned countries, Ukraine could be able to create the first quick reaction force element within 6 months. The main problem faced by the Ukrainians is placed within the administrative structure.

As Butusov notes, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are managed by two structural units in parallel – namely, by the Ministry of Defence and by the General Staff. This is a post-soviet structure. According to the Ukrainian law, the scopes of responsibility of these bodies are practically identical, thus they are reciprocally duplicated. This constitutes a problem within the scope of the reforms, but it also hampers the decision making chain during the wartime.