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DPM assails defense ministers NATO push
Journal Staff Report

KIEV, Sept. 24 - Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk on Monday condemned efforts by Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko to have Ukraine join NATO and accused him of ignoring the Ukrainian people's interests while pushing for the accession.

Hrytsneko is known as a key advocate for Ukraines quick accession to NATO and Tabachnyks attack show that NATO has been increasingly becoming an issue ahead of the Sept. 30 snap election.

"What is the purpose of increasing the terrorist threat for Ukraine several times over by integrating with the alliance? What is the purpose of making Ukrainian young men or officers cannon fodder for the United States in any spot on the planet? What is the purpose of deceiving the Ukrainian people that membership in the alliance offers Ukraine guarantees of security?" Tabachnyk said, according to an Interfax report.

Hrytsenko runs for a seat in Parliament on a ticket of Our Ukraine-Peoples Self-defense, President Viktor Yushchenkos group.

Tabachnyk runs on a ticket of the Regions Party, led by pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Hrytsenko has been persistently criticizing the Yanukovych government for spending less money on the countrys defense than had been required.

"It is via the president that Hrytsenko seeks approval of the Cabinet of Ministers for the Defense Ministry budget. If he considers this normal, he either needs to ask his financiers for help or ask his doctors for tablets for his excessive pursuit of fame," Tabachnyk told reporters.

For the past 14 months, Hrytsenko has not been working as part of the Cabinet team and has constantly been blocking various initiatives, Tabachnyk said.

The amount of proposed defense allocations in the 2008 draft budget is twice that in, say, the 2005 budget, the deputy premier said.

Tabachnyk also accused Hrytsenko of initiating Cabinet debates on matters that fall outside his authority.

The deputy prime minister also complained that after Hrytsenko took over the defense portfolio, the Defense Ministry slashed military housing construction and closed down an army officer training facility in Odesa.

"I think he will only work until the elections [of September 30]," Tabachnyk said. (if/ez)

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