18:27 23.04.2019

Zelensky team backs continued cooperation with NATO, abolishment of military draft, Ukroboronprom reform

2 min read
Zelensky team backs continued cooperation with NATO, abolishment of military draft, Ukroboronprom reform

 The staff of Volodymyr Zelensky, the apparent winner of the presidential election in Ukraine, favors continued cooperation between Ukraine's security and defense forces and NATO, professional armed forces, and a reform of the state defense company Ukroboronprom.

"The security and defense forces will continue intensive cooperation with NATO and relevant EU organizations; in particular, as regards the achievement of interoperability in conducting possible joint operations. We will clearly support the implementation of the measures stipulated by the annual NATO-Ukraine national cooperation program under the aegis of the NATO-Ukraine Commission," Ivan Aparshyn, a security and defense expert in Zelensky's team, said on Tuesday.

The format of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is also a key item on Zelensky's program. "The army will be professional and voluntary (without the disgraceful mandatory draft). It will be reinforced with permanent reserves and territorial defense systems. Officers having combat record, who are focused on victory and on preserving their soldiers' lives, will be invited to the army's command," Aparshyn said.

The Defense Ministry's budget must be made as open to the public as possible, and military service members should be entitled to "decent living conditions," he said.

As concerns volunteers, such as Ukrainian citizens who have been involved in "repealing aggression" and who have still not received combatant IDs, or whose involvement in combat actions has not been documentarily confirmed, "the personal files of each of them will be examined and decisions will be made on each such individual personally," Aparshyn said.

The state defense order should be made as public as possible, he said. "The terms and conditions will be the same for all, be it state-run businesses or private ones. The armed forces will receive state-of-the-art and highly technological weapons, and the state defense order will stimulate the development of fundamental sciences and breakthrough technology," Aparshyn said.

The state company Ukroboronprom will be reformed, he said. "It will be rid of the powers to determine a military-technical policy; a central state executive body will be set up to take responsibility for formulating and implementing the military-industrial policy," Aparshyn said.

Some of these issues "can realistically be resolved in three months," while others might take a year to be settled, he said.

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