Kiev: Ukraine`s president today vowed to boost military spending by USD 3 billion in the next three years as government forces seek to overpower pro-Russian separatists in the east.
President Petro Poroshenko made his pledge during a speech marking Ukraine`s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Speaking to a crowd of thousands in Kiev`s Independence Square, Poroshenko says the country would increase military spending by USD 3 billion by 2017. The Ukrainian defence ministry says its existing 2014 budget is USD 1.5 billion.
Ukraine`s military has pleaded for more resources to oust pro-Russian rebels, who still hold two major cities in the east, Donetsk and Luhansk.
The United Nations estimates that the eastern fighting has claimed 2,000 lives since April.