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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced his intention to replace Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov with Rustem Umerov, the current head of Ukraine’s main privatization fund.

During his Sunday video address to the nation, Zelensky highlighted the upcoming significant reshuffle in Ukraine’s defense leadership amid the ongoing war that started with Russia in February 2022. Reznikov, who assumed the position of defense minister in November 2021, successfully secured vast amounts of Western military aid to support Ukraine’s wartime efforts. However, he also faced persistent allegations of corruption, which he categorically labeled as unfounded smears.

Addressing the decision, Zelensky stated, “Oleksii Reznikov has been through more than 550 days of full-scale war. I believe the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole.”

While the parliament’s approval is required for this change in leadership, it’s widely anticipated that the majority of the government body will back Umerov’s nomination.

Umerov, a 41-year-old former lawmaker and Crimean Tatar by heritage, has been leading Ukraine’s State Property Fund since September 2022. He’s also been instrumental in critical wartime negotiations, notably including the Black Sea grain deal.


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