Tue, 19 Nov 2019

KYIV -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has announced that the country will not hold an 'expensive' military parade as it has in years past on the country's Independence Day, August 24.

Instead, the president said in a video address posted to Facebook on July 9, the 300 million hryvnyas ($11.7 million) typically used to showcase the country's firepower and armed forces will be allocated to servicemen as bonuses.

'It's so pompous and definitely not cheap,' Zelenskiy said in his announcement. 'It's better to allocate this money to our heroes.'

Ukraine has held military parades sporadically since 1998. It had stopped the practice between 2010 and 2013 under Moscow-friendly former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia during the Euromaidan uprising in 2014.

On the watch of his successor, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine held annual, large-scale parades during which it showcased a reformed military that was expanded while fighting Russia-backed separatists in the country's eastern Donbas region.

The war erupted in April 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea. It grinds on still today, with no end in sight. The United Nations says more than 13,000 people have been killed.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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