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Poltorak’s nomination for Ukraine’s defense minister victory for party of war — lawmaker

October 13, 2014, 19:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian lawmaker says nomination of Ukraine’s National Guard chief Stepan Poltorak for the defense minister aims at improving the rating of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc before parliamentary election

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Ukrainian National Guard head Stepan Poltorak (right)

Ukrainian National Guard head Stepan Poltorak (right)

© AP Photo/Efrem Lukasky

MOSCOW, October 13. /TASS/. The nomination of Ukraine’s National Guard chief Stepan Poltorak for the defense minister’s post spells victory of the party of war, the chief of the Russian State Duma’s committee for the CIS affairs, Eurasian integration and diaspora relations Leonid Slutsky told the media on Monday.

“Certainly, this is a victory of the so-called party of war. In what other way can one describe the nomination of Donbass’s worst gendarme for the position of the country’s defense minister, particularly so at a time when fresh evidence of mass graves of civilians and atrocities by the National Guard has surfaced?” Slutsky said.

Slutsky says that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s current personnel policies are tightly pegged to the pre-election situation in Ukraine. “Apparently, the Ukrainian president hopes that the dismissal of the previous defense minister Valery Heletey and the appointment of Stepan Poltorak instead will improve the rating of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc in the run-up to the forthcoming parliamentary election,” Slutsky said.

Poroshenko’s choice sure sign fighting will resume

Another Russian lawmaker from the parliament's upper house said Petro Poroshenko with his choice revealed his real vision of the future events in eastern Ukraine as an end to truce and the resumption of hostilities.

Igor Morozov believes that instead of Valery Heletey, whose public statements caused smiles inside Ukrainian society and turned the armed forces into a laughing stock Poroshenko selected a “professional military who has manifested himself as a strong commander during the National Guard’s operations in the east.”

“His (Poltorak’s) units displayed remarkable ferocity and in fact performed the role of punitive forces in Donbass,” Morozov said. “Poltorak’s hands are stained with blood and after the National Guard’s operations he may well be branded as a war criminal.”

Earlier on Monday Poroshenko asked the country’s parliament, Verkhovna Rada, to appoint 49-year-old Stepan Poltorak as head of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, the presidential press-service has said. Poltorak was commander of the National Guard starting April 15.

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