Kiev Allots $791 Mln for Military Support in East Ukraine

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The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday made changes to its annual budget to allot an additional $791 million to support its troops, according to a statement on the Kiev government’s official website.

KIEV, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – The Ukrainian parliament on Thursday made changes to its annual budget to allot an additional $791 million to support its troops, according to a statement on the Kiev government’s official website.

Of the entire amount, $741 million goes to the Defense Ministry and another $42 million is allocated to the secret service department.

Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak earlier said that due to the crisis in the country and the military operations in the eastern regions, the country’s budget may be $2.5 billion short at end of the year, if the government does not find reserves to cover its debt.

The ministry plans to use the additional funds to build homes and give financial support to families of deceased military personnel, as well as to procure food, clothing and fuel for the army in autumn and winter.

Ukraine’s speaker of parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov, said a further $158 million will be allocated to restore infrastructure in the country’s eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk that have been ravaged by the ongoing military campaign.

“Despite a difficult economic situation, budget spending on the Ukrainian Armed Forces, social payments and subsidies, healthcare and other programs… has not been cut,” the country’s cabinet said in an explanatory note.

This comes amid continuing austerity measures that were announced in February by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund in a bid to stave off mounting debt.

To receive the IMF funds, Ukraine agreed to a severe austerity program that includes shedding 24,000 government jobs, raising taxes, selling off state assets and withdrawing subsidies on natural gas.

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