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50 military servicemen have died this year in the Armed Forces

17.08.2006   

This information was given today at a briefing given in Kyiv by the Head of the Military Service for Law and Order of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Major General Serhiy Hlebov.

The Major General gave statistics for deaths among military servicemen: in 2000 there were 154 deaths, in 2001 – 138, in 2002 – 142, in 2003 – 120, in 2004 – 117 and in 2005 – 102.

Hlebov stressed that if one analyzed these figures, it could be said that there had been a steady trend towards a reduction in the overall number of deaths of military servicemen with different causes. According to him, the smallest percentage of the deaths were connected with carrying out duties, while the overwhelming majority – 60% were where the deaths had been caused by personal carelessness, abuse of alcohol, infringement of basic safety rules outside their hours of service and in their domestic lives, where their commanding officers had no way of influencing events and their results. Hlebov also asserted that these statistic give grounds for averting crimes.

He emphasized at the same time that he was giving these figures not to provide excuses or to claim that all is fine in the army, since for any mother whose son returns in a coffin it is of absolutely no comfort  that last year less men died.

Hlebov also mentioned that legal charges had been brought against 198 military servicemen and employees of the Armed Forces during 2006, with 49 people not being convicted. 5 people had been deprived of their liberty, 11 had been sentenced to limitation of liberty, 13 ordered to serve their punishment in disciplinary brigades, and 47 in guardhouses.

He also stated that with the reduction in the size of the army, the reduction in mortality rates among military servicemen was calculated in terms of the number of deaths per 1 thousand servicemen.  “This coefficient is permanently falling”, he stated.

Over the 7 months of this year there have been 33 cases recorded of physical force applied by commanding officers who had resorted to unbefitting methods of coercion in regard to military servicemen.  Hlebov claimed, however, that “Very often it is the servicemen themselves who directly provoke their commanding officers to use force. …. Unfortunately we must admit that there are people without very high intelligence who go into the army”.

However the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine suggests that the situation should not be over-dramatized since the situation in the Russian army is much worse.

For example, with 307 thousand military servicemen in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and in the Russian – 1 million 200 thousand, last year there had been 1,019 offences recorded, while in Russia this figure came to 20,390.

Hlebov also stressed that in 2005 102 Ukrainian military servicemen had died while in Russia there had been 1,170 deaths.

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