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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Defense Pick Delayed

MOSCOW () -- President Boris Yeltsin said in a message to the armed forces he saw no reason in naming a new defense minister before the runoff presidential election on July 3, Interfax said Thursday.

The agency was quoting a senior officer who had seen the message which said a candidate's ability to reform the military and protect servicemen and their families would be key factors in the appointment.

"President Boris Yeltsin believes it is pointless to name a new defense minister until the second round [of the election] is over," Interfax said.

Yeltsin sacked the hawkish Pavel Grachev on June 18 and has named the chief of the General Staff, Mikhail Kolesnikov, to be interim minister.

Yeltsin may have decided it was best to wait as the government will have to resign automatically after the runoff, irrespective of who wins.