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  • Military conscription was dropped by Ukraine in 2013, but reimposed in 2014 amid a growing independence movement in the country

    Military conscription was dropped by Ukraine in 2013, but reimposed in 2014 amid a growing independence movement in the country's east. | Photo: Reuters

Ukraine is set to launch a new conscription drive, as fighting continues in the eastern part of country.

Ukraine’s parliament approved plans Thursday to conscript tens of thousands more Ukrainians for military service.

The newly conscripted troops will be called up in three recruitment waves this year in accordance with the decree issued by President Petro Poroshenko just approved by legislators.

Conscription was dropped by Ukraine in 2013, but reimposed in 2014 amid a growing independence movement in the country's east.

The new conscription drive was first proposed by Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak late last year.

According to Poltorak, new troops are needed as soldiers from previous recruitment drives finish their tours of duty.

“We foresee calling up 40,000 men in 2015 and training 10,500 people who will do their service,” the minister stated in December.

If those figures are met, Ukraine's army would be set to grow from 232,000 troops to 250,000. These troops are set to be armed with around US$475 million in new arms. In mid-December, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged US$350 million in military equipment, including arms, to Kiev.

Amid the arms build up, officials from Poroshenko's government announced Wednesday that they would hold new peace talks with separatist groups in the coming days.

“We are working on this and I hope that the session will be held in the next few days,” Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin stated.

The government and separatists agreed to a cease-fire deal in September, though fighting has largely continued unabated. Since the cease-fire was implemented in September, hundreds of fighters have died on both sides of the conflict, and over 100 civilians have been killed.

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