KYIV — Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has been dismissed from his post, the country’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky has announced.
Reznikov had led the Ministry since before the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
In his nightly address, President Zelensky said it was time for “new approaches” in the Defense Ministry.
Rustem Umerov, who runs Ukraine’s State Property Fund, has been nominated by Zelensky as Reznikov’s successor.
“I believe that the Ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly address from the capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian media has speculated that Reznikov will become Kyiv’s new ambassador in London, where he has developed good relations with senior politicians.
Reznikov, 57, has become a well-known figure since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Internationally recognized, he has regularly attended meetings with Ukraine’s Western allies, and played a key role in lobbying for additional military equipment.
But his dismissal has been anticipated for some time. Last week, Reznikov told reporters he was exploring other positions with the Ukrainian president.
According to Ukrainian media, the former defense minister said that if Zelensky offered the opportunity for him to work on another project he would probably agree.
And his dismissal comes amid a wider anti-corruption drive in Zelensky’s administration, with weeding out graft in the state seen as essential to the country’s desire to join Western institutions like the EU.
While Reznikov is not personally accused of corruption, there have been a number of scandals involving procurement at the Ministry of Defense over goods and equipment for the army.
Earlier this year Reznikov’s deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, resigned in the wake of the scandal. It was widely reported at the time that Reznikov barely held on to his own post.
His dismissal comes as Ukraine wages a slow and bloody counter-offensive after securing more advanced weapons from western allies.
Progress on the frontline has been slow but top Ukrainian generals have recently said Kyiv’s troops hit key Russian defenses. — BBC