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Leonid Polyakov, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine: The Presence of Our Armed Forces in Crimea Plays an Important Stabilizing Role

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Kyiv, March 20, 2014 – Despite the so-called armistice, Russian soldiers continue their attempts to seize the military units of Ukraine and trespass the strategic infrastructure objects, said Leonid Polyakov, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, during a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“We have not exhausted the diplomatic methods to resolve the conflict, but at the same time we are preparing an alternative action plan in case the current methods are not effective”, said Mr. Polyakov. He cited o the release of Ukrainian Armed Forces Admiral Serhiy Haiduk and other seven hostages from captivity as a success achieved through peaceful negotiations. At the same time, the Deputy Minister did not rule out the possibility of the Ukrainian soldiers using their weapons – a course of actions authorized yesterday. “A failed attempt to seize Belbek airport proves that such measures are sometimes working. We use various methods”, Polyakov said.

According to the official, Ukrainian armed forces are being put on high alert throughout continental Ukraine. Citizens provide every possible support to the Ukrainian servicemen, making financial donations. “So far, we have collected 25 million hryvnias to fund our army needs, as well as a slightly smaller amount in foreign currency”, Polyakov said. He added that the population actively supports armed forces units in the regions, supplying them with food, firewood, sleeping bags.

The Deputy Minister emphasized the priority of protecting not only servicemen, but their families and civilians as well. “The government takes efforts to organize the possible evacuation of Ukrainian servicemen’s families. The designated headquarters at the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine was established with this purpose”, Mr. Polyakov commented.

Leonid Polyakov – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, part-time counselor of the Verkhovna Rada Committee of National Security and Defense of Ukraine (2000-2005, 2008-2014), First Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine (2005-2008), Military Programs Director of the Razumkov Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies (1999-2005)


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