KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine plans to spend five percent of its budget or 86 billion hryvnia ($5.5 billion) on the army and on law enforcement in 2015 and to reintroduce compulsory military service, a top security official said on Saturday.
Pro-Russian separatism erupted in Ukraine’s east in April, killing over 4,700 people. While violence has lessened in recent weeks, Kiev has said it must build up its military to counter any future threats in the east.
“Victory is the only option,” the secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksander Turchynov, said at a meeting of security officials.
It is not known how much Ukraine spent on defense and security this year, but Turchynov said the plans for 2015 represent a “colossal” increase.
He said Ukrainians between the ages of 20 and 27 would be called up for 18 months of military service. President Petro Poroshenko earlier stressed that these recruits would not have to serve on the frontline.
The uprising by the separatists, who oppose central rule by Kiev and seek union with Russia, began a month after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in March.
The pro-Western authorities in Kiev accuse Russia of orchestrating the uprising in the east after the ouster of a president sympathetic to Moscow. The Kremlin denies it is behind the revolt.
($1 = 15.7693 hryvnia)
Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Stephen Powell