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Commander: Ukrainian Military Partially Operational

14 July 2005 -- Ukraine's top military commander said today that the country's 250,000-strong army is only partially operational due to obsolete equipment and lack of funds.

General Serhiy Kirychenko, the chief of staff of Ukraine's military, said that "the army has only a limited capability to defend the state."

Kirychenko said that the problem mainly affects "complex and expensive air force weapon systems and counter-electronic systems."

Ukraine inherited vast quantities of weapons, ammunition, and military infrastructure after the Soviet collapse in 1991. However, most of it is now in disrepair because of the Ukrainian military's lack of funds.

Last year, then Defense Minister Evhen Marchuk warned that the army had purchased no new armored vehicles, warplanes, or helicopters since it declared independence in 1991.