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    UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY TO CONSIDERABLY INCREASE R&D FINANCING

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    KIEV, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's defense ministry plans to considerably increase the financing of research work, as well as the purchasing of armaments and military hardware, Yevgeny Marchuk, the Ukrainian defense minister, told Ukraine's Segodnya newspaper.

    In his words, within the framework of the reform of Ukraine's Armed Forces in 2005, it is planned to spend some 400 million hryvnias (some $75.5 million) on R&D work, purchases of armaments and military hardware, instead of the present 95 million hryvnias ($17.9 million).

    "High-precision weapons, well-equipped reconnaissance [equipment] and many other things are needed," said Mr. Marchuk.

    In his words, the latest developments in the world say that there has appeared a necessity to have completely different armed forces in other proportions.

    "Primary importance is assigned to the principle of mobility in using armed forces. If we don't take into account the achievements of the scientific and technological revolution, we will appear to be medieval knights who, while owning tanks, artillery systems, missiles and other things, won't be able to oppose anything to highly intelligent weapons," the minister said.

    As part of the reformation program of Ukraine's Armed Forces, the number of servicemen in 2006 will be reduced from 355,000 to 200,000 people. It is also planned to cut the fleet of outdated military hardware. 500 tanks, 640 armored vehicles, 250 artillery systems of over 100 mm caliber, 110 warplanes and 50 helicopters will be decommissioned.

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