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Ukraine appoints new acting DM, withdraws troops from Crimea

English.news.cn   2014-03-25 23:05:48

KIEV, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday approved Mykhailo Koval as the country's new acting Defense Minister, after his predecessor decided to withdraw the country's forces from Crimea.

The nomination, proposed by Ukrainian parliament speaker Alexandr Turchynov, was supported by 251 lawmakers in the 450-member assembly.

Koval, a 58-year-old Colonel-General, previously served as head of the Ukraine Border Service's Administration Department. In early March, he was kidnapped by a group of unidentified men in Crimea, but was later released.

In a separate vote earlier Tuesday, the parliament accepted the resignation of former acting Defense Minister Igor Tenyukh.

Tenyukh presented his resignation to parliament amid media criticism he procrastinated in giving commands to the Ukrainian military and his failure to resolve the crisis in Crimea, which resulted in Russia taking control of the peninsula.

Earlier in the day, Tenyukh said his ministry had agreed on the withdrawal of the Ukrainian troops from Crimea with Russian military officials.

"We have reached an agreement to pull Ukrainian troops with arms out of Crimea," Tenyukh told the parliament.

Ukraine would evacuate about 6,500 troops and their families from Crimea, together with military equipment worth 11 billion U.S. dollars.

Tenyukh's decision to abandon Ukraine's military bases and facilities on the peninsula were seen by some local analysts as acknowledging Kiev had lost the former republic.

On March 20, two days after Crimean leaders signed a treaty with Moscow to make the peninsula part of Russia, Kiev asked the United Nations to grant the crisis-hit peninsula the status of a demilitarized area.

If the request is accepted, Ukraine and Russia would have to withdraw all their troops from Crimea.

Also on Tuesday, Turchynov passed a self-imposed no-confidence vote, which he put forward himself in response to a liberal party leader's accusation of "inefficiency in settling the crisis in Crimea."

The no-confidence motion, which required at least 226 votes to pass, gained only two.

The 49-year-old Turchynov has also assumed the authority of acting president and supreme commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces until a presidential election slated for May 25.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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