World

August 25, 2014

Ukraine plans $3 billion boost to defense spending

Efrem Lukatsky and Laura Mills
Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president announced plans Aug. 24 to boost his country’s defense spending by an estimated 50 percent as government forces seek to overpower pro-Russian separatists in the east.

President Petro Poroshenko pledged to spend an extra 40 billion hryvnia ($3 billion) by 2017 during a speech marking Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

More than 20,000 people, many waving the country’s blue and yellow flag or donning traditional embroidered shirts, gathered to hear Poroshenko and watch an ostentatious military display in Kiev’s Independence Square, where months of protests earlier this year ended in the ouster of the country’s former pro-Russian president. During the parade, tanks and other armored vehicles rumbled past in a show of strength.

It is clear that in the foreseeable future there will always, unfortunately, be the threat of war, Poroshenko said. And we not only have to learn to live with that. We must always be prepared to defend our independence.

Poroshenko warned that Ukraine has repeatedly suffered threats and actual invasion from its eastern border with Russia and we have typically not expected it.

Responding to criticisms that army equipment was being wasted on the Aug. 24 ceremonies, he also told the crowd that the troops, tanks and other weaponry would head immediately east after the parade.

Poroshenko’s plans for extra spending would represent an additional 50 percent on top of Ukraine’s current defense spending, projected to reach $1.5 billion this year. Ukrainian military leaders have pleaded for extra resources as they face a potentially protracted fight against separatists in the country’s Russian-speaking industrial east.

In recent weeks, Kiev’s troops have routed the insurgents in much of the region and encircled them in Luhansk and Donetsk, the regional capitals. The United Nations estimates that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting since April, and toll rises daily.
Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security Council, told journalists that 722 members of Ukraine’s armed forces have died in the fighting, with five killed and eight wounded in the past day alone.

In the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, militants responded to Kiev’s Independence Day festivities by placing the wreckage of several Ukrainian military vehicles in the city’s main square.

Several hundred onlookers, who trickled into the largely empty square ahead of a parade announced by the fighters, gawked at the shrapnel-mangled equipment. Russian nationalist songs blasted from speakers as supporters posed for photos in front of a destroyed tank.

Today is the so-called independence day of what was Ukraine. And look what has happened to their equipment. This is what has become of Ukraine! said a pro-Russian rebel fighter who identified herself by her battle name, Nursa, pointing at the remains of a Ukrainian troop transport.

The crowd appeared on edge as dozens of fighters gathered in formation, then quickly dispersed at the sound of artillery fire in the distance.

One onlooker grabbed a Ukrainian flag from the wreckage of a burned-out tank and threw it to the ground and several others trampled on it, wiping their feet and spitting.

Alexander, a 40-year-old businessman from Donetsk who declined to give his surname, said the Ukrainian flag had no place in the city.

I feel this is no place for this flag. The great achievement here is that people can see it in the state that it deserves to be in, he said.

Resentment has grown in the east as residential areas have increasingly come under fire. Early Aug. 24, artillery shells struck several residential buildings as well as a major hospital and morgue in downtown Donetsk, although nobody was reported killed.

In Kiev, Lysenko denied that Ukraine’s forces were responsible for the shelling of any residential buildings or hospitals.

Donetsk feels like a ghost town as an estimated 300,000 of the city’s 1 million residents have fled the fighting. Many of those who remain have gone weeks without electricity or running water, and spent recent days staked out in bomb shelters.

Conditions are worse in the city of Luhansk, whose war-reduced population of a quarter-million people has suffered under constant fighting over the past weeks.

Lysenko said that 68 civilians had been wounded there in the past 24 hours, but could not confirm whether anyone had been killed.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 24, 2014

News: Hagel said to be stepping down as defense chief under pressure - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises. Afghan mission for U.S....
 
 

News Briefs November 24, 2014

Fog forces five U.S. choppers to land in Polish field Officials say that that fog forced five U.S. Army helicopters to make an emergency landing in a Polish field and spend the night there, the second such incident since September. The U.S. Army said 15 soldiers were moving equipment to their base in Germany Nov....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 

 
boeing-SC-787

Boeing South Carolina begins final assembly of its first 787-9 Dreamliner

Boeing has started final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at its South Carolina facility. The team began joining large fuselage sections of the newest 787 Nov. 22 on schedule, a proud milestone for the South Carolina team and a...
 
 
Lockheed Martin image

Ball Aerospace equips Orion mission with key avionics, antenna hardware

Lockheed Martin image Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. is providing the phased array antennas and flight test cameras to prime contractor Lockheed Martin for Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1), which is an u...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>