Ukraine's Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov and his Slovakian counterpart Jaroslav Baska discussed in Uzhhorod (West Ukraine) military technical cooperation. The meeting took place in view of opening of the NATO Information Center within the Uzhhorod National University.
Yuriy Yekhanurov thanked Slovakia for support of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration saying that Ukraine is interested in Slovakia's experience as the country has recently passed the way Ukraine is to pass.
"Our relations are developing and today's event demonstrates it. By the way, such actions are run in all over Ukraine. They have been already held in Odesa, Mykolayiv, today - in Uzhhorod and the next is Kyiv. The NATO Information Center opened in Uzhhorod with participation of the Slovakian Embassy in Ukraine will tell about the Alliance. NATO is not an aggressive bloc someone tries to persuade. This is a defensive structure which is involved in active anti-terrorism efforts," Yuriy Yekhanurov said.
He also informed of a gradual transfer of the Ukrainian army to the contract basis. "We need UAH 49.3 million for three years for that. We reduced a spring draft by 7,000 thousand of people, and we replace them by the contract-based service soldiers. By the way, 52,000 thousand of the contract-based soldiers today serve in the Ukrainian army. In 2008, the Air Force, Naval Force and signal troops will be fully staffed with the contract-based soldiers".