Ukraine`s Poroshenko names new head of anti-rebel operations

Poroshenko has named a new chief of military operations against separatists in eastern Ukraine, continuing a shake-up of the military and security leadership to combat the insurgency.

Reuters| Updated: Jul 08, 2014, 14:48 PM IST

Kiev: President Petro Poroshenko has named a new chief of military operations against separatists in eastern Ukraine, continuing a shake-up of the military and security leadership to combat the insurgency.

In a decree, he named Vasyl Grytsak head of the "anti-terrorist centre", making him operational chief in the drive to quash the rebels.

Pro-Russian separatists have been fighting government forces since April when they set up `people`s republics` in the east of Ukraine.

The move, announced on the president`s website, is the latest by Poroshenko to tighten his grip on security operations and restore public confidence in his ability to win the fight against the separatists.

After the appointment of a new defence minister and a new head of the armed forces general staff last week, government forces notched up their biggest victory to date against the separatists by re-taking the city of Slaviansk which had been a rebel stronghold.

Grytsak, a 20-year veteran of the state security apparatus, replaces Vasyl Krutov who has headed the "anti-terrorist centre" since mid-April.

Despite some other military successes, Krutov and other security officials have come under public criticism for big military losses including the downing by the rebels of an Il-76 cargo plane in June with the deaths of more than 49 crew and servicemen.