Zelenskyy signed a decree to strengthen the Ukrainian army during his speech in parliament on February 1, 2022. Credit: RFE/RL
2022/02/02 – 01:18 •
The military reform decree signed by Zelenskyy envisages increasing the size of the army by 100,000 men and ending conscription.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy signed a decree to strengthen the Ukrainian army and complete military reform, thus allowing the gradual transition to a professional army.
On February 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Ukrainians to remain calm and united as the government and world leaders continue their efforts to ward off a possible invasion by Russia.
On the same day, Zelenskyy signed the decree “On priority measures for strengthening state defense capabilities, increasing the attractiveness of military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the gradual transition to a professional army.”
The decree increases the size of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by 100,000 soldiers over three years and increases soldiers’ salaries, ending conscription from January 1, 2024, in order to complete the reform of the Ukrainian army towards a professional army.
The president also proposes to introduce an intensive system of military training as a possible alternative form of military service.
According to Defense Minister Serhiy Reznikov, around 90% of Ukraine’s servicemen are professional servicemen under contract, while only 10% are military conscripts every year. However, salary, accommodation and other conditions of professional military service in Ukraine were unsatisfactory, barely reaching the country’s average.
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In particular, the decree signed by the president:
- ends compulsory conscription;
- increases payments to the military to at least three minimum wages (currently it is 19,500 UAH, or $687);
- develops housing for service members, veterans and their family members;
- increases the length of contracts;
- introduced a career advancement system for officers;
- increases the number of the Armed Forces for three years by 100,000 professional employees (currently, the Ukrainian army has 250,000 military personnel);
- creates 20 additional brigades.
Zelenskyy also said that Ukrainians should rely on themselves to defend Ukraine:
“Our country has many friends, we are grateful to them, but friends have their homeland. Don’t forget that. So nobody will build Ukraine in our place, nobody in our place will defend Ukraine, save Ukraine. We only have to rely on ourselves.“
Tags: reforms, Ukrainian army, Zelenskyy