Ukraine replaces Reznikov amid corruption scandal: Lawmaker | Russo-Ukrainian War

Ukraine is set to replace Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov with the head of the country’s military spy agency, a senior lawmaker said, in a high-level cabinet reshuffle following a cabinet reshuffle. corruption scandal and before an expected Russian attack.

Reznikov, 56, will be transferred to another ministerial job and be replaced by Kyrylo Budanov, 37, the head of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency, David Arakhamia, said on the Telegram messaging app today. Sunday.

“The war determines personnel policies,” said Arakhamia, a close ally of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

There was no immediate statement from Zelenskyy about the replacement of Reznikov, a former lawyer who became defense minister in November 2021, months before Russia launched its full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022. .

Reznikov has helped the West secure weapons to bolster Ukraine’s forces, and his removal as defense minister would be the highest-level change of government in a year. series of resignations and dismissals following the corruption scandal late last month and Zelenskyy’s pledge for Ukraine to meet Western standards of clean governance.

The scandal involved food contracts that were expected to overpay. Amid public outcry, one of Reznikov’s deputy ministers was fired, while two other senior officials also resigned.

Arakhamia said that Ukraine’s “forces” bodies – such as the defense ministry – should not be headed by politicians in wartime but should be headed by people with experience in defense or security.

“Kyrylo Budanov will head the Ministry of Defense, which makes perfect sense in wartime,” the lawmaker said.

Carrying the rank of major general, Budanov has headed the military intelligence service since August 2020.

“Time and circumstances require consolidation and regrouping. This is happening now and will continue to happen in the future,” Arakhamia said. “The enemy is preparing to attack. We are preparing to defend ourselves,” he added, referring to Ukraine’s concerns that Russia is planning a new major offensive this month.

Ukraine is planning its own counterattack but is waiting for the arrival of battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from its Western allies.

Arakhamia added that Reznikov would be appointed minister of strategic industries but did not say when the moves would be formalized.

Reznikov said earlier on Sunday that any decision on the reshuffle rests with Zelenskyy and that an internal audit of procurement procedures at the Defense Ministry is underway. He told reporters the ministry’s anti-corruption department had “failed” to do its job and needed a “complete restart”.

He told Ukrainian online media Fakty ICTV late in the evening that the move to the new department was news for him.

“If I suddenly receive such an offer from the president of Ukraine or the prime minister, I will refuse because I have no expertise,” Reznikov said.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, when asked about the reshuffle on national television on Sunday night, said: “Reznikov is extremely effective in terms of communication with our partners. And this is a very important component in this case.”

Podolyak says that Reznikov’s “excellent” personal relationships with allies have helped Ukraine receive billions of dollars in military aid to fight the Russian invasion.

“Negotiation is not only a mathematical formula, but also a personal relationship. And trust. Unfortunately, today we are losing some faith in us,” Podolyak said.

Analysts say that any decision to replace the defense minister will not affect Ukraine’s military operations.

“The timing is not so important,” said William Courtney, a senior fellow at Rand Corporation, a US-based consulting organization.

Courtney told Al Jazeera: “It is important that the new defense minister be competent. “The new Secretary of Defense will have to represent the Department of Defense to parliament, to the president, and to many people in the West. Oleksii Reznikov already has a good reputation in the West as an effective defense minister who understands the broad political implications of what is going on. It is hoped that the new minister will fulfill the same role and not seek to duplicate military strategic functions.”


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