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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yushchenko Taps New Foreign Minister

APYushchenko shaking hands with Yanukovych in Kiev on Monday as parliamentary Speaker Oleksander Moroz watches.
KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko asked the parliament Monday to appoint career diplomat Volodymyr Ohryzko as foreign minister after opponents forced the resignation of one of his last Cabinet allies from the post.

The nomination was made on the eve of a visit to Kiev by a European Union delegation including EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana, External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

If the nomination is approved by Ukraine's parliament, dominated by Yushchenko's opponents, Ohryzko will replace Borys Tarasyuk, who resigned last week after a two-month campaign to force him out of office.

Ohryzko was Tarasyuk's first deputy and is now serving as Ukraine's acting foreign minister.

"Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko submitted to the parliament a nomination to appoint Volodymyr Ohryzko as foreign minister," the presidential press service said in a statement.

Tarasyuk fell victim to a battle for ascendancy between Yushchenko and his old foe, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Tarasyuk had been one of only two ministers still loyal to the president since Yanukovych, defeated by Yushchenko after the Orange Revolution in 2004, took over as prime minister in August.

During his two years in the office, Yushchenko has promised to bring Ukraine closer to the European mainstream and one day win European Union membership.

But his policy is undermined by efforts of his Moscow-friendly prime minister. In the presidential election two years ago, Yanukovych was openly backed by Moscow.

Yushchenko's powers were reduced significantly by constitutional amendments and a new law on government that took force last week.

The parliament is controlled Yanukovych allies. It was not immediately clear when the deputies, who return from their winter recess to work Tuesday, will vote on whether to appoint Ohryzko as foreign minister.

The 50-year-old diplomat was Ukraine's ambassador to Austria from 1999 to 2004. He has served as first deputy foreign minister since February 2005.