Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the replacement of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. The decision had been anticipated for months, the first time already in February by one of Zelensky’s party leaders, but so far the president had not yet formalized it. In his place should be appointed Rustem Umerov, currently head of State Fund of Ukraine. Zelensky said in a statement that the decision should be ratified by parliament and then it will be official: «Rezhnikov went through more than 550 days of war, I think the ministry needs new approaches and a change in relations with the army and with society as a whole”.
The hypothesis that Reznikov would be removed from his post emerged after the cases of corruption involving some Ukrainian public administrations, including the Ministry of Defence: in particular, it seems that there have been irregularities in supply contracts and cases of corruption in a period in which the budget available to the ministry had increased dramatically due to the war. Rezhnikov is not directly involved in the allegations and ensuing investigations, and last winter two ministry officials were arrested over an overpaid supply of food to the army.
According to the government, the management problems that arose in the chaotic first months of the war have been resolved, however in the past months Rezhnikov has continued to receive pressure to resign, and questions about his future at press conferences. In most cases, Rezhnikov replied that the composition of the government was Zelensky’s responsibility, and therefore it was he who should decide on his future.