Putin fires Navy chief, appoints Vysotsky new commander

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Moscow, Sep 14 (UNI) Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired Navy chief Admiral Vladimir Masorin and appointed Northern Fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky as new commander, Russian news agencies reported.

Masorin turned 60, the maximum age for senior commanders according to present Russian Navy law. He submitted his resignation to the President, who has the authority to extend the commanders' service on an annual basis until they reach the age of 65.

President Putin chose not to extend Masorin's service and appointed in his place Vysotsky, 52, a source in the Defence Ministry told Interfax news agency.

On the other hand Mr Masorin had accepted the Legion of Merit from US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Mullen and set to become chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in October, on the sane day he turned 60.

Masorin accepted the honour without first clearing it with Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, in violation of Defence Ministry procedures for accepting foreign decorations. Masorin asked Serdyukov for permission only after he returned to Russia, national media reported.


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