Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 137

Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma yesterday appointed Lt. General Oleksandr Kuzymuk as defense minister, replacing the civilian Valery Shmarov, who had been ousted July 8 after his performance was found unsatisfactory. The choice of Kuzymuk signifies a return to the practice — strongly favored by Ukraine’s military — of appointing a military man to the post of defense minister. Kuzymuk, a tank officer, has until now commanded Ukraine’s National Guard and, prior to that, the 32nd army corps stationed in Crimea. Installing Kuzymuk at a meeting of the Defense Ministry’s senior staff, Kuchma instructed the ministry inter alia to strengthen cooperation with the country’s arms industry, accelerate the formation of Ukraine’s Black Sea Fleet, and upgrade the safety of arms and ammunition stockpiles. Kuzymuk may soon receive another star in consideration of his post and of the fact his first deputy is a three-star general.

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