Ukraine’s Defence Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, has announced his departure from the post he has held since before Russia’s invasion in 2022. President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that it was time for “new approaches” in the defence ministry and revealed that Rustem Umerov, head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund, has been nominated as Reznikov’s successor. Reznikov confirmed his resignation in a post on social media, and it is speculated that he may become Ukraine’s new ambassador to London due to his good relations with senior politicians there.
Reznikov has gained international recognition for his role in lobbying for additional military equipment for Ukraine and attending meetings with Western allies. However, his dismissal had been expected, as he had been exploring other positions with President Zelensky.
Although the cabinet reshuffle is not anticipated to result in significant changes to Ukraine’s battlefield strategy, the dismissal is part of a broader anti-corruption drive in Zelensky’s administration. Several scandals involving inflated procurement prices at the defence ministry have occurred, and there have been arrests related to bribery in regional recruitment offices.
Meanwhile, the US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, has urged Ukrainian anti-corruption officials to continue prosecuting cases, emphasizing the importance of fighting corruption for Ukraine’s aspirations to join Western institutions like the EU.
Rustem Umerov, the nominated successor to Reznikov, was involved in peace talks when Russia launched its invasion. He allegedly experienced symptoms of suspected poisoning during the negotiations but denied the reports. As a member of the Crimean Tatar community, Umerov has played a significant role in Zelensky’s efforts to build international ties, particularly in the Islamic world.
Amidst ongoing conflict, Ukraine has made progress in its counter-offensive with the support of advanced weapons from Western allies. Top Ukrainian generals recently announced breaking through a key line of Russian defences in the south of the country. In response, Russia reported multiple attempted drone attacks on its territory, with the Ukrainian defense ministry claiming to have shot down two drones over the Kursk region. Russia also launched an assault on Ukraine’s Odesa region, downing 17 drones, and causing damage to settlements in the Izmail region but no casualties or injuries.
The attacks on Ukraine’s Danube ports, including Izmail, have been frequent since Russia withdrew from a grain deal in July. These ports have become Ukraine’s primary exporting route for grains since the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal.