Enemy №1: Ukraine’s president signs new military doctrine, Russia named biggest threat

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko © Mikhail Palinchak
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has approved the country’s revised military doctrine that regards Russia as the main threat to the country’s security.

Russia’s “armed aggression” now poses “an acute threat” to Ukraine, the newly-approved document states relating to the crisis in the eastern Ukraine and the Crimea’s integration into Russia referred to as “temporary occupation,” the press release on the Ukrainian president’s website says.

Ukraine has consistently blamed Russia for “military aggression” in its eastern regions since the beginning of the crisis following the Western-backed coup in late February 2014, during which the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich was toppled. Russia denies all such accusations, pointing at the lack of evidence.

Actually, the document sees Russia not only as an enemy number one but also as an enemy number two and three as the list of potential ‘threats’ mentioned in the new Ukrainian doctrine also includes “Russia’s military buildup in close proximity to the state border,”“deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Crimea” and “presence of military contingents of Russia in Transnistria.”

Additionally, Ukraine’s revised military doctrine names “a full-scale armed aggression of Russia against Ukraine with decisive military-political goals” as the main scenario among the threats to the country’s military security.

After enumerating all possible threats that, according to the Ukrainian government, could be posed by Russia, the document also mentions “the activity of illegal armed groups in Ukraine” that prevent Kiev from exercising authority over the country’s regions as another possible threat, apparently referring to the forces of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

At the same time, the reconciliation of the crisis in eastern Ukraine is mentioned as one of the “major goals of the Ukraine’s military policy.” According to the doctrine, the conflict resolution includes “elimination of illegal armed groups and restoring Ukraine’s control over the border with Russia.”

The doctrine mentions neither the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the crisis nor direct dialog with Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which the Normandy Four countries urged Kiev to engage in.

The new Ukrainian doctrine also envisages that the country’s military budget should be no less than 3 percent of GDP, with army training and new arms procurement defined as priorities for funding.

At the same time, the new Ukrainian security strategy, which is a broader and more complex security concept, demands the country’s military expenditures to be no less than 5 percent of GDP. In 2014, the country’s military and security budget amounted to 3.4 percent of GDP, while in 2015 it was just 2.7 percent. According to the country’s PM, Arseny Yatsenyuk, Ukraine’s defense spending in 2016 would amount to 5 percent of GDP.