"Putin cannot overcome the power of our new Ukrainian army. But I am concerned with the attempts to hit our army from the rear. For this end, the enemy uses the entire arsenal of information warfare. It is precisely on the eve of the elections that the army and society are heavily shelled with all this negative," President Petro Poroshenko said during a speech at the Chernihiv Regional Development Council. "I am not going to reject all materials from journalists as false or politically motivated. The freedom of speech exists for the authorities and society to see the problems," he added.
“But I consider it a cynicism when we are taught to love the army by those presidential candidates who had been destroying the Armed Forces of Ukraine holding the high government office. By false care, they want to conceal their active role in destroying our defense capability. Instead of visiting TV shows, they should repent. Come to our soldiers and ask how we defended the country in 2014," Petro Poroshenko said.
The President expressed hope that the interim investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine would properly evaluate the facts of plundering and undermining the defense capability and call the names of the persons involved.
"No lie will help state-mongers who must bear responsibility for the destruction of the army. And there is no period of limitations here. Since 2014, we have paid a very high price for that. No one will avoid liability either political or criminal," the Head of State added.
"My job as of Supreme Commander-in-Chief is to protect the army in the rear while it holds the line on the front. Protect it from the state-mongers who dishonor the work of the whole defense industry complex. It is also important to protect the army and the defense complex from the attempts of various dealmakers and their partners in the government to profiteer off the military budget," Petro Poroshenko said. He stressed that "zero tolerance to corruption is required for that".
"Neither posts, nor acquaintances will cover those who illegally profiteer off the army. You, state-mongers who robbed the army, will bear responsibility. We will not forgive you," the President said and reminded that he had personally supported the Ukrainian army in the amount of almost 1.5 billion UAH.
The President stressed that a number of measures were being implemented to strengthen the country's defense capability. "But the best decisions remain on paper if they are not fulfilled by people capable of that," the Head of State said. At the same time, he announced his decision to appoint Colonel of the Special Operations Forces Serhiy Kryvonos to the post of Under Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, "a person who has repeatedly proved his courage and fortitude".
"A person who knows the needs of the soldier and the requirements for the weapons not from the Internet, but from his own combat experience," he added and recalled that he had got acquainted with Colonel Serhiy Kryvonos in 2014, when the military had been defending the Kramatorsk airport.
"As he says, he will continue the warrior's path and make every effort to stop corruption in the army. I guarantee maximum support for his efforts," the Head of State stressed and warned the presidential candidates against lies and speculation on the issue of the army.
The Head of State said that he had instructed Serhiy Kryvonos to "protect the army and the defense complex from distrust, to intensify the rearmament of the troops, including by enhancing military-technical cooperation with NATO partners".