Yanukovych reshuffles leadership of defense ministry, army
President Viktor Yanukovych is seen in this Feb. 9 photograph being saluted by soldiers ahead of a meeting with the military's leadership during which he announced the appointment of former Russian-citizen Dmytro Salamatin as Ukraine's new Defense Minister. (Courtesy of www.president.gov.ua)
Days after appointing a new defense minister and national security chief, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych continued reshuffling leadership within the army and defense ministry.
“We will today discuss our plans to modernize the Armed Forces in coordination with the National Security and Defense Council,” Yanukovych said on Feb. 18 in a meeting with top officials from the army and defense ministry held at his Mezhyhiria estate north of Kyiv.
Newly-appointed National Security and Defense Council head Andriy Klyuyev attended the meeting.
The newest round of reshuffling follows the recent appointment of former Russian citizen Dmytro Salamatin as Ukraine’s new Defense Minister, and Russian-born career KGB official Ihor Kalinin as head of the SBU state security service.
According to a presidential order made public on the president’s website on Feb. 18, Oleksandr Oliynyk was appointed First Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry. Volodymyr Mozharovsky was demoted from First Deputy Head of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry to Deputy Minister in charge of managing the ministry’s apparatus. Volodymyr Omelyanchuk was fired from this position.
Ihor Kushnir was relieved of his duties as Deputy Defense Minister, replaced by Dmytro Plyaschuk.
Separately, Yanukovych appointed Volodymyr Zamana as Chief of General Staff and Comander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Hryhoriy Pedchenko was relieved from this post.
Speaking one day earlier, on the Shuster Live TV talk show, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that Klyuyev, who was moved from government, where he served as First Deputy Prime Minister, to the National Security and Defense Council, would not be in charge of more important issues.
“This is a transfer to a more responsible, more important work in the field of the country's national security,” Azarov was quoted by Intefax-Ukraine as saying.
“The National Security and Defense Council is the highest council under the president, which is responsible for the development of strategy and national security, and Andriy Petrovych [Klyuyev] should take this work to a higher level,” the premier said.