Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed the country’s defence minister saying “new approachees” were needed as it continues its counteroffensive against Russia.
Oleksii Reznikov has led the ministry since before Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded in February 2022. Now Rustem Umerov, who runs Ukraine’s State Property Fund, has been nominated to take over.
In his nightly address from Kyiv, Ukranian president Zelensky, said: “I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole.”
According to the BBC, Ukrainian media has speculated that Reznikov will become Kyiv’s new ambassador in London. He has developed strong relationships with senior politicians in Westminster.
Reznikov, 57, has become a well-known figure across the world since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. He has regularly attended meetings with western allies and lobbied for additional military resources.
His dismissal however has been expected for some time. He last week told reporters he was exploring other positions with the Ukraine president.
Media in Ukraine said the former defence minister was said to be open to working on another project for Zelensky’s administration. The president is also undergoing a wider anti-corruption drive as the country desires to join Western institutions such as the EU.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index currently ranks Ukraine in 116 out of 180. Although the country has been making significant attempts to improve.
And although Reznikov himself has not been accused of corruption, there have been a number of scandals around procuring goods and equipment at the ministry of defence. Earlier this year his deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, resigned after becoming mired in scandal.
At the time it was said Reznikov managed to hang onto his own post by the skin of his teeth. He said the stress he had endured over the past year was “hard to measure precisely”but said his “conscience is absolutely clear”.
Reznikov’s dismissal comes as Ukraine wages a slow and bloody counteroffensive against Russia. It managed to secure weapons from the West to defend itself.
Although progress has generally been seen as slow, Ukrainian leaders on Sunday said forces have broken through a number of key lines of Russian defences in the south.