Ukraine gets new defence minister

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Feb. 8, 2012, 9:25 p.m. | Politics — by Reuters


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Wednesday sacked Defence Minister Mikhailo Yezhel, replacing him with Dmytro Salamatin, a decree published on the presidential administration website said. No reason was given for the dismissal of Yezhel, who had served as defence minister since Yanukovich was elected two years ago.

But he has been under fire for the slow pace of army reform in the ex-Soviet republic and his departure had been rumoured for more than a year.

Salamatin, 46, was formerly head of the Ukrainian state company responsible for arms exports and imports.

It was the second big government change in recent weeks by Yanukovich, whose Regions Party faces a tough fight against a possibly united opposition in a parliamentary election next October.

Late last month he sacked Fedir Yarosenko as finance minister, replacing him with former state security chief Valery Khoroshkovsky.
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