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 the parliament will be asked to make a decision on personnel… 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 nominated Rustem Umerov, a former Ukrainian people’s deputy, to become the new defense minister.
“The Verkhovna Rada (legislature) of Ukraine knows this person well and Mr. Umerov does not need any further introduction,” Zelensky said. “I hope that parliament will support this candidate.”
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.