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The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, voted to return to a monthly bonus system where soldiers, members of the Territorial Defense forces, and police get an extra Hr 100,000 ($2,700) per month if they serve in a designated active combat zone.
It's a significant bonus in a country where the official average salary is just under Hr 15,000 ($400). Those who serve outside active combat areas will get an extra Hr 30,000 ($800) per month.
This system was in place until February when only people in direct enemy contact were then given up to Hr 100,000 ($2,700), a system tallied by the day rather than monthly, soldiers told the Kyiv Independent.
People in combat zones, some distance away from the front line, got up to Hr 30,000 ($812), while everyone who is outside an active combat zone gets no bonus at all.
Basic salaries were raised as part of the overhaul, but it still was a meager pay compared to the risks taken. According to Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, a basic rifleman’s pay went from Hr 13,000 ($352) to Hr 20,000 ($541) at the time.
Yet, the law doesn't specify where to get the funds to pay a minimum of an additional Hr 30,000 per month to military personnel, a bonus that could cost the state more than $4 billion and lead to an increase in the budget deficit in 2023, already severely hit by the war.
The new law also includes up to 30 days off per year and up to 10 days off for family reasons, while cadets will get up to 10 days off in winter and up to 20 days in summer.
Military personnel who have not completed a basic military training course are not allowed to participate in military operations, and the minimum period of basic military training will last at least one month.