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Ukraine to Spend Over $1Bln on Military Reform in 2005

The Ukrainian government plans to invest 6.1 billion hryvni, or nearly $1.3 billion, in reforming the country's armed forces in 2005, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych told NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Kyiv on Monday.

The state is increasing spending on military reform, he said. The increase totaled 20% in 2003, and will total 29% in 2004, he said.

In addition to the 6.1 billion hryvni, "there is a special fund that will amount to 800 million to 900 million hryvni," Yanukovych said.

Speaking on diplomatic contacts between Ukraine and NATO, Yanukovych said that "a memorandum of understanding on the use of transport plans will be drafted and ready for signing before the end of this month."

The government has sent parliament an armed forces reform bill that legislators will consider shortly, he said.

Ukraine hopes the joint Ukraine-NATO ammunition disposal project will be implemented shortly, Yanukovych said.

(Interfax 20.iv.04)

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