Ukraine military 'unsuited' to current conflict: study

11th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's military is "unsuited" to the current conflict against pro-Russian separatists and needs more armoured vehicles and artillery rockets, a British defence think tank said on Wednesday.

Regularising volunteer battalions that have played a key role in the fighting will also be a "significant challenge", the International Institute of Strategic Studies said in its 2015 Military Balance report.

It pointed out that Ukraine was using older equipment to replace losses incurred in the conflict but that longer term it would need more modern materiel.

"This could include mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles and equipment that has demonstrated its effectiveness during 2014, such as precision artillery rockets," the report said.

"Tactics and doctrines that had dominated since the 1990s, mainly inherited from the Soviet era, have generally been unsuited to the current fighting amid urban areas and among populations," it added.

"Only a small proportion of the army and air forces are combat ready," it said.

It also cautioned against announced drastic increases in Ukraine's defence spending, which is planned to rise to 5.0 percent of gross domestic product by 2020.

"It is difficult to estimate the degree to which these aspirations reflect realistic budgetary projections," he said.

Ukraine's military has suffered a series of setbacks in recent days on the frontlines in southeast Ukraine, including the loss of Donetsk airport.

Fighting in Ukraine has killed at least 46 people in the last 24 hours, Kiev officials and rebel authorities said on Wednesday, ahead of a planned four-way summit in Minsk to thrash out a peace deal.

The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine were to meet later Wednesday in the Belarussian capital Minsk in the hope of agreeing a peace deal to end 10 months of fighting in which at least 5,300 people have died.

© 2015 AFP

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