President Victor Yushchenko welcomes the support by Ukraine’s main political forces for his plans to reform the national army and make it professional, according to the President`s press-office. He believes such an army will strengthen the country’s defense capability and protect its interests in the world and says the Armed Forces of Ukraine “have been the most trusted state institution over the years of independence, and the people’s trust in the army has even been growing in the past several years.”

As supreme commander-in-chief, Yushchenko wants to reform the post-Soviet military system but thinks these reforms should be planned and introduced carefully.

The president issued a decree in December 2005 to abolish compulsory military service by 2010. The implementation of this plan depends on his constructive cooperation with the cabinet of ministers, parliament, self-governments and society.

Yushchenko is glad the democratic forces agree Ukraine needs a professional army but asks some of them to refrain from making “sweet electoral promises” which are not based on any calculations and resources and “create impracticable expectations in society.”