PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic's defense minister says he wants his country's defense budget to return to growth amid fighting in Ukraine.
Martin Stropnicky says the current crisis in Ukraine is a warning sign that a military conflict in Europe is not unthinkable.
The Czech Republic, which has reduced its defense budget in recent years to just above 1 percent of gross domestic product because of austerity cuts prompted by the global economic downturn, has been under fire from NATO for not spending enough on defense.
NATO's goal is for member states to use 2 percent of their GDP.
Stropnicky said Thursday the budget should increase by 0.1 percent of GDP a year in the coming years, starting in 2015. The government has not yet approved next year's overall budget.