Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has appointed Col. Gen. Stepan Poltorak the country’s new Defense Minister. Prior to taking the helm of the ministry, Poltorak served as the commander of the National Guard of Ukraine. Parliament approved the move on Tuesday.
Poroshenko said the appointment comes at a time when the Ukrainian military is operating in a rapidly changing environment, according to a statement released by his office. In his former role, Poltorak helped coordinate Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation against Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east.
“We are implementing the peace plan, … rebuilding the supply and logistics systems of the Army. The issues of international cooperation, including military-technical and military cooperation with our partners from the EU, the United States and other countries, are being discussed at [a] different level,” the president said.
Poltorak is replacing Valeriy Heletey, whose resignation Poroshenko accepted on Sunday. While the reason behind Heletey’s leaving were not disclosed, Poroshenko said that the change at the Defense Ministry’s helm and the recent decisions to dismiss the head of the State Border Service and establish an Intelligence Committee were designed to enhance Ukraine’s defense capacity and overhaul its security structures.