As reported by Censor.NET citing Interfax-Ukraine, Poltorak said during ceremonies on the Ukrainian Volunteer Day in Kyiv on March 14.
The minister said that every single officer and soldier at the front line in the Donbas decided independently on defending his/her home country.
Poltorak said that about 40,000 military are conducting tasks in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) area, "and all of them are volunteers."
"I want to thank those of you who took their first steps (in the ATO - ed.). Many of you had your tours of duty, lost your health, but still remained in the service. You work in military enlistment offices, in training centers, conduct combat tasks. I ask Ukrainians to take care of these people," the defense minister said.
On March 14, Ukraine is marking the Ukrainian Volunteer Day for the first time.