As reported by Censor.NET citing UNIAN, he said this in an interview with Novoe Vremia.
"The biggest strategic mistake had been made before 2014, when all was done to make the army not only combat-ineffective, but also limited in its abilities to fulfill combat tasks. The army was not ready for what might happen (fighting in the Donbas and occupation of Crimea - ed.)," he said.
According to Poltorak, a huge number of new units and attachments has been created in the past two years in Ukraine; however, mistakes have been done as well.
"We didn't have experience in conducting these global operations, combat activities, forming this huge number of units with scarce resources. There have been mistakes in the decisions we made," the defense minister said.
Poltorak said that the Defense Ministry is often accused of "slow-paced changes."
But, the minister stressed, none of the countries has conducted the reform of its armed forces together with combat activities.
"The reform in Poland and the Baltic states was conducted in perfect conditions, when they were able to experiment. We do not have this possibility. We do our best, and I want our society to know about it," Poltorak summed up.
Earlier, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine had to have a strong, combat-effective army in compliance with NATO standards before the country becomes a NATO member.
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