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Government appoints Hero of Ukraine Oleksandr Porkhun as acting veterans affairs minister

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The Ukrainian government has appointed Oleksandr Porkhun, a veteran of the Russian-Ukrainian war and a Hero of Ukraine, as the acting veterans affairs minister after the resignation of Yuliia Laputina, the ministry reported on Feb. 9.

Porkhun previously served as the first deputy of the veterans affairs minister. He is a retired Armed Forces major and former commander of the 13th Separate Airmobile Battalion of the 95th Air Assault Brigade.

Porkhun fought against Russian-backed forces during the first invasion of the Donbas in 2014, including in the legendary Battle of Donetsk Airport. He received the title of Hero of Ukraine in 2015 and retired from military service in 2017.

Laputina submitted her resignation as the veterans affairs minister on Feb. 5, which was then supported by the parliament.

President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on her resignation, saying that Ukraine needs “fresh energy.” He discussed “strengthening the state policy on veterans” with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Feb. 5.

Members of a public council under the Veterans Affairs Ministry called for Laputina’s resignation in December last year.

She was criticized for poor communication with veterans, delaying the creation of a national military memorial cemetery, and the low quality of her experimental Veteran’s Helper program.

The Veterans Affairs Ministry was created in 2018, four years after Russia first invaded Donbas and illegally annexed Crimea, in order to implement state policy on social protections for war veterans.

Former Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in August 2023 that around a million Ukrainians had become combat veterans since the Russian invasion of Donbas in 2014.

Read also: Who is General Syrskyi, Ukraine’s new chief commander?

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