Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 51

Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma yesterday pledged support for a military reform program involving manpower cuts and force modernization. Kuchma was addressing Defense Ministry staff in introducing the new General Staff chief, Lt. General Oleksandr Zatynaiko. Ministry officials indicated that the armed forces’ manpower will be cut to 350,000 by the end of 1996, lower than the size of German and French armed forces. The officials indicated that the measure will make possible a more effective use of the approved military budget, equivalent to $621 million this year and will yield a net gain in terms of battle readiness. (16)

Ukraine’s forces currently number 420,000 and are second-largest in Europe after Russia’s. That size represents a reduction from the approximately 700,000-strong forces inherited by Ukraine from the former USSR. Zatynaiko takes over as chief of staff from Col. General Anatoly Lopata, who was dismissed last month because of his resistance to deep manpower cuts.

Turkmen Gas Pipeline to Indian Ocean Planned.