9 August 1999 (RFE/RL) - President Boris Yeltsin today fired Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin and appointed Vladimir Putin, the head of the Federal Security Service, to replace him. Russian media say Yeltsin has sent Putin's candidacy to the State Duma for confirmation. It is the fourth time in 18 months that Yeltsin has sacked the country's prime minister. Yeltsin met with Stepashin, who served as prime minister for three months, early this morning but did not give a reason for the dismissal. Britain was among the first nations to react to the latest Russian government reshuffle. Foreign Office minister Peter Hain told British radio that instability in Russia is a danger for the entire world.