Russia's first deputy defense minister discharged

© RIA Novosti . Sergei SafronovNew first deputy defense minister Vladimir Popovkin
New first deputy defense minister Vladimir Popovkin  - Sputnik International
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In a shakeup at the Russian Defense Ministry, Col. Gen. Alexander Kolmakov has been dismissed as first deputy defense minister, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.

In a shakeup at the Russian Defense Ministry, Col. Gen. Alexander Kolmakov has been dismissed as first deputy defense minister, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.

He was replaced by former deputy minister Vladimir Popovkin in charge of arms procurement.

Kolmakov, 55, could have served for another five years until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60 but President Dmitry Medvedev refused to grant him an extension and discharged him from service.

Addressing Popovkin, Medvedev, who is commander in chief of the Russian Armed Forces, said he was sure that Russia "will be able to carry out the state arms program that is currently being finalized."

He said it was critical to modernize, upgrade and re-outfit the military "and lay the groundwork for the development of the Armed Forces through 2020 and even 2030."

He said the new first deputy defense minister should pay special attention to suppliers "who sometimes make mischief," referring to overpricing their products.

Medvedev said earlier on Tuesday he had appointed Lt. Gen. Sergei Karakayev as the new commander of the Strategic Missile Forces.

Karakayev, former SMF chief of staff, replaces Col. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko.

Medvedev offered no reason for the dismissal of Shvaichenko, who had served in his position for less than a year (since August 2009), but said the SMF must at all times be "in full combat readiness and able to perform missions assigned to them."

MOSCOW, June 22 (RIA Novosti) 

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