Ukraine’s Zelenskiy moves to replace wartime defense minister

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy moves to replace wartime defense minister

  • Zelenskiy says he determined to switch Oleksii Reznikov
  • Reznikov lobbied West for billions of {dollars} of support
  • His ministry confronted graft allegations he known as smears
  • Substitute shall be Rustem Umerov, privatisation fund head

KYIV, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mentioned on Sunday he had determined to switch his defence minister, setting the stage for the largest shake-up of Ukraine’s defence institution since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

In his nightly video tackle to the nation, Zelenskiy mentioned he would dismiss Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov and would ask parliament this week to switch him with Rustem Umerov, head of the nation’s primary privatisation fund.

Reznikov, defence minister since November 2021, has helped safe billions of {dollars} of Western army support to assist the struggle effort, however has been dogged by graft allegations surrounding his ministry that he has described as smears.

The choice comes amid a crackdown on corruption in Ukraine that Zelenskiy has been eager to emphasise. Kyiv has utilized to hitch the European Union and the general public has change into extremely delicate to corruption because the struggle rages endlessly.

“I’ve determined to switch the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has been by means of greater than 550 days of full-scale struggle,” Zelenskiy mentioned.

“I consider the ministry wants new approaches and different codecs of interplay with each the army and society as an entire.”

Zelenskiy mentioned he anticipated parliament to approve Umerov’s appointment, including that Umerov “doesn’t want any further introduction.” Zelenskiy has to submit Umerov’s candidacy to parliament for assessment.

A 41-year-old ex-lawmaker and Crimean Tatar, Umerov has headed Ukraine’s State Property Fund since September 2022 and performed a task in delicate wartime negotiations on, as an illustration, the Black Sea grain deal.

He has been praised in Ukraine for his monitor file on the State Property Fund, which oversees the privatisation of state belongings and had been embroiled in corruption scandals earlier than he took cost.

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov exhibits a army uniform throughout a information convention, amid Russia’s assault on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 28, 2023. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich Purchase Licensing Rights


Through the struggle, Reznikov’s defence ministry lobbied the West to beat numerous taboos on supplying highly effective army package to Ukraine, together with all the things from German-made primary battle tanks to HIMARS multiple-launch rockets. Kyiv now appears to be like poised to obtain U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets quickly.

Western army support has performed a vital function within the struggle, as Ukraine first pressured again Russian troops across the capital Kyiv earlier than launching counteroffensives within the northeast and south.

Its troops at the moment are combating by means of heavily-mined areas and Russian defensive traces to attempt to recapture territory within the southeast and east.

An English-speaker, Reznikov is seen as having constructed up a powerful rapport with allied defence ministers and army officers.

One member of parliament has tipped him as Ukraine’s potential new ambassador to London.

His obvious exit seems to carry an finish to months of home media stress that started in January when Reznikov’s ministry was accused of shopping for meals at inflated costs.

Although he was not personally concerned within the meals contract, some Ukrainian commentators mentioned he ought to take political accountability for what occurred.

Final month, a Ukrainian media outlet accused his ministry of corruption through the procurement of winter coats for the military. Reznikov denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly mentioned he was being focused by a smear marketing campaign.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Anna Pruchnicka; Enhancing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

Purchase Licensing Rights, opens new tab


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *