Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired his defense minister, citing the need for “new approaches” as a measure war with russia enters its 19th month.
“This week, parliament will be asked to make a personnel decision … I have decided to replace the minister of defense of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” Zelensky said.
The President Nominee Rustem Umerovformer people’s deputy of Ukraine, will become the new defense minister.
“The Verkhovna Rada (legislature) of Ukraine knows this person well, and Mr. Umerov does not need any additional introductions,” Zelensky said. “I expect parliament to support this candidate.”
Umerov is currently the chairman of the State Property Fund, whose mission is to attract investment to Ukraine, and has been closely involved in prisoner-of-war exchanges. He also served as a senior negotiator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative and more than once expressed skepticism that Russia would follow through on the deal. Russia has since abandoned the plan.
His appointment comes at a critical time for Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the south and as its relations with allies and donors enter a new phase. Ukraine is seeking to speed up the training and deployment of F-16 fighter jets, as well as acquire a host of other equipment and weapons to help fuel its counteroffensive.
Following the decision of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, I submitted my resignation to the Ukrainian Parliament. I am ready for the report. Let’s keep the line!”
He also posted photos of himself with his resignation letter.
Reznikov has served as defense minister since November 2021, having previously held other government positions, such as deputy prime minister, according to his biography on the Defense Ministry website.
His dismissal is due to a series of corruption scandals involving the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
Zelensky fired a series of top officials earlier this year over a scandal linked to the procurement of wartime supplies; the country’s deputy defense minister resigned after facing corruption allegations; then, in August, Zelensky fired all officials in charge of regional military recruitment centers, citing numerous ongoing criminal proceedings.
While Reznikov has not been implicated in any of these scandals, he has still been seen to hurt by association.
And on Saturday, one of Ukraine’s most powerful oligarchs and a key Zelensky supporter, Ihor Kolomoisky, was arrested as part of a fraud investigation.
According to a 2021 report by Transparency International, Ukraine is the second most corrupt country in Europe after Russia. Globally, it was ranked 122nd out of 180 countries.
zelensky Promise to rid the government of corruption. it was one of the reasons behind his rapid rise to power in 2019. Zelensky, a former comedian who played Ukraine’s president on a hit TV show, had no political experience at the time of his election but managed to capitalize on deep-seated disappointment. of the nation and disgust at rampant corruption.
Ukraine officially became an EU candidate state last year, but Brussels has made it clear that kyiv will need to step up its fight against corruption if it wants to become a full member.