In his nightly address today, the Ukrainian president said it was time for ‘new approaches’ in the defence ministry.
The future of Oleksii Reznikov, named in the top post in November 2021, has long been uncertain amid growing allegations of grafting in his department.
Kyiv officials have launched two investigations into the department’s bookkeeping – Reznikov has not been personally implicated in either of them, however.
Zelensky said in a message on Telegram will Reznikov be replaced by Rusten Umerov.
As the chairman of Ukraine’s State Property Fund, Umerov has been the face of Ukraine’s privatization effort by selling state assets, such as sites for enterprises.
‘Oleksii Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war,’ Zelensky said.
‘I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large.’
Ukraine’s parliament, Verkhovna Rada, must approve the change of defence minister.
Lawmakers ‘know this person well’, Zelensky said, adding that he expects them to sign off on his request.
‘Autumn is a time to strengthen,’ he added. ‘Glory to Ukraine!’
Reznikov, among a handful of top officials who barricaded themselves in the capital after Russian forces surrounded it during the start of the war, has not publicly commented on the shuffle.
It comes as Ukrainian generals blasted through one of Russia’s most iron-clad and daunting lines of defence in the south, Ukrainian generals and US officials said Friday.
Brig Gen Oleksandr Tarnavski told The Observer newspaper that Kyiv forces have pierced Russia’s defensive lines near Zaporizhzhia.
‘We are now between the first and second defensive lines,’ he said.
‘In the centre of the offensive, we are now completing the destruction of enemy units that provide cover for the retreat of Russian troops behind their second defensive line.’
After weeks of combat, Ukraine seized the southeastern village of Robotyne on Monday as the country’s grinding counter-offensive continues to reap small but significant advances.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence is currently under the magnifying of two government inquiries related to war profiteering.
One includes the ministry purchasing military rations such as eggs or canned beans at inflated prices – such as signing a catering contract worth 13 billion hryvnias (£280,000,000).
The Ukrainian news website ZN.UA claimed in an exposé that the defence ministry bought eggs at 17 hryvnias per piece, while the average price of an egg in Ukraine is around seven hryvnias.
Deputy defence minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who oversaw logistical support for the army, resigned in January in the wake of the scandal.
Reznikov said at the time the ballooned prices were a ‘technical error’ by the contractor, with the exposé being ‘nothing but manipulations’.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said in a since-deleted post in January that another deputy minister was busted while appearing to accept a $400,000 bribe for overpriced electrical generators.
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