Kyiv Stresses Need for Bolstered Military
by VOA News November 14, 2014
Ukraine's president says his country's armed forces are 'willing and able to fight back' should the cease-fire agreement reached in September between his government and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine unravel.
President Petro Poroshenko spoke in Kyiv Friday after meeting with Ukraine's top security officials. He said the situation in the east must be resolved through dialogue - but that his government has taken 'serious steps' over the past two months to prepare the armed forces to defend the country.
Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Friday that the country's number one task is to reform the military and acquire new weaponry to ensure the armed forces can stop 'Russian military aggression' and defend Ukrainian citizens.
NATO this week reported the movement of troops, tanks and artillery from Russia into eastern Ukraine.
Reuters news agency Friday quoted Western officials as saying that rebel forces had fired on and jammed unmanned drone reconnaissance aircraft deployed by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors days before the armed convoys were sighted.
There has been an upsurge in fighting between government and separatist forces since the cease-fire agreement was signed in early September, with each side accusing the other of violating the agreement and shelling civilian areas.
In an interview with the German newspaper Rheinische Post, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said his government is not planning a military operation to regain control over those parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists.
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