Victor Yushchenko told reporters on Friday the government would spend UAH 12 bln on the army in 2007, according to the President’s press-office.

“When we are speaking about the amount of funds to satisfy the needs of the army in 2007, we think we should give them about 11.8 billion hryvnyas,” he said, adding that this sum would partly be used to build houses for army officers and to implement several military projects.

The President said the National Security and Defense Council had addressed the army issue during this week’s meeting.

“We believe the year 2007 should be the first year to effectively finance development programs in the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko also said the government was going to finance the development of the country’s first rocket complex.

“We must purchase Ukrainian weapons and military equipment. We must formulate a national program to provide the army with modern communication devices,” he said. “Of course, we are also considering other important military programs but we want to make it clear for the first time ever: the 2007 budget will be formed from the traditional objectives of western armies, which means a third of the humanitarian budget will be spent on development programs.”

He urged governmental institutions and particularly the State Property Fund to find ways of more efficiently managing army assets to fill its special fund.