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Poroshenko endorses National Guard commander for Ukrainian defense minister’s post

October 13, 2014, 15:34 UTC+3

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has endorsed National Guard commander Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine’s new defense minister

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Stepan Poltorak

Stepan Poltorak

© TASS/Nikolai Lazarenko

KIEV, October 13. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has endorsed Commander of the National Guard Stepan Poltorak as Ukraine’s new defense minister. Poroshenko proposed the candidacy to the country’s parliament, president’s press service said on Monday.

“I have submitted to the parliament for consideration the candidature of Commander of the National Guard Stepan Poltorak for the post of the Ukrainian defense minister,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page. “I’ve talked to the generals, met ordinary fighters and battalion commanders and conversations with them convinced me of the rightness of my choice.”

Poltorak, 49, holds the post of the National Guard commander to which he was appointed on April 15, 2014.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko accepted the resignation of Heletey, 47, whom he appointed in July.

The president also voiced hope that the Rada members will support his proposal on Tuesday.

The parliament will vote to choose the new defense minister on October 14.

The embattled defense chief, Heletey has been criticized by Ukrainian politicians for mistakes made during the Kiev’s special operation in eastern Ukraine, as well as for poorly equipped troops and incompetence in military issues.

On October 2, Russia’s Investigative Committee (IC) said it opened criminal cases against Heletey, Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ General Staff Viktor Muzhenko and other senior military officials.

The actions of Ukrainian top defense officials amount to charges of mass murders, use of prohibited warfare means and methods and genocide, the IC said in a statement.

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