KYIV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is considering two candidates for the vacant defense minister's post, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.
National Security and Defense Council Secretary Raisa Bohatyriova and the chief of the armed forces' General Staff, Serhiy Kyrychenko, are said to be in the running. Neither name has been submitted to parliament.
The Defense Ministry has traditionally been headed by career military officers, but in recent years Yushchenko has selected civilians for the post, including the previous minister, Yuriy Yekhanurov, who was dismissed by parliament on June 5.
If nominated and confirmed, Bohatyriova would be the first female defense minister in a former Soviet country.
Meanwhile, Yushchenko’s press secretary, Irina Vannikova, announced that due to the current financial and economic situation in Ukraine, the president had to postpone his official trip to Australia.
Yushchenko planned to pay a six-day visit to Australia on June 12. His itinerary also included working visits to Singapore and Brunei.