KIEV, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine had increased its defense spending for 2014 by 22 percent in response to the tensions in the eastern part of the country, a senior military official said here Thursday.
"Today, the overall budget of the Defense Ministry totals 20.1 billion hryvnyas (around 1.72 billion U.S. dollars)," Deputy Director of the Defence Ministry's Finance Department Sergei Vinnik told a media briefing.
Defense spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 1.25 percent, Vinnik said.
He said the extra funds would be used to service military equipment, purchase fuel and ammunition for Ukrainian troops and fund the government's military operation in the east.
The unrest in the mostly Russian-speaking eastern part of Ukraine started shortly after the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych in February and the Crimean peninsula's affiliation with Russia in March.
Armed protesters seized administrative buildings in several towns and cities across the area and declared independence from Kiev.
In an attempt to reassert control over the region, the Ukrainian military launched an "anti-terror" operation against the insurgents in mid-April.