Parliament endorsed Poltorak for a new defense minister

14 October 2014 12:38

Ukraine's parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favor of President Petro Poroshenko's choice for a new defense minister.

The Verkhovna Rada endorsed Stepan Poltorak, who is currently chief of the National Guard, in a 245-1 vote on October 14 .

Poltorak replaces Valeriy Heletey, who was criticized over the Ukrainian military's performance in combating pro-Russian separatists who continue to hold large portions of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions after fighting that has killed more than 3,660 people since April.

Heletey handed in resignation on October 12 after only three months on the post.

When announcing his candidate to replace Heletey on October 13, Poroshenko praised Poltorak for his "professionalism and patriotism" and said Poltorak had turned the National Guard into a formidable fighting force in a short time.