Ukraine ‚must double‘ defence spending to $3bn – minister | BBC News

Ukrainian troops at Chuguyev base

Ukraine says its military needs to buy equipment from the West in order to combat the heavily armed rebels

 

Ukraine must double its military budget next year to $3bn (£1.9bn) to fund the fight against pro-Russian rebels, the defence minister has said.

 

Stepan Poltorak told parliament that this figure included an extra $110m for buying weapons abroad.

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The Ukraine crisis began a year ago, when then-President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned an agreement on closer trade ties with EU in favour of closer co-operation with Russia.

 

This decision sparked pro-EU protests in the capital Kiev, eventually toppling Mr Yanukovych in February.

 

In the weeks that followed, Russia annexed Crimea, in Ukraine’s south, and pro-Russian separatists took control of Donetsk and Luhansk, declaring independence.

 

The crisis has caused a serious rift between Russia and Ukraine’s Western supporters.

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