KIEV, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday that his country will increase its defense budget next year as the threat of large-scale hostilities in eastern regions may resume.
"The colossal threat of a renewed large-scale fighting still remains," Poroshenko said in his annual address to parliament.
Poroshenko said military modernization is a top task for the government, as the Ukrainian military must be prepared to repel a possible attack from the pro-independence rebels.
"Ensuring the defense capability of the state is our long-term key priority," the president said without disclosing the figures of the 2016 defense budget.
This year, the Ukrainian government is expected to increase defense spending to 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) from 1.02 percent in 2014 due to the conflict in eastern regions, which costs Kiev about 7 million U.S. dollars per day.
The confrontation between government troops and insurgents, which rages since April 2014, has killed over 6,400 people and wounded almost 16,000 others, according to latest UN estimates.
The hostilities between the warring sides have eased significantly after a cease-fire deal was signed in Minsk, capital of Belarus, in mid-February.