Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, announced his resignation on Monday following his dismissal by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Reznikov expressed gratitude for the privilege of serving the Ukrainian people and the armed forces during what he described as the most challenging 22 months in Ukraine’s recent history, in a message posted on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
In his resignation letter, the 57-year-old minister, who assumed office in November 2021, stated that he had successfully achieved all the significant objectives outlined for his tenure, as reported by the Xinhua news agency. President Zelensky has nominated Rustem Umerov, the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund, as Reznikov’s successor.
During his televised address to the nation on Sunday, President Zelensky announced his intention to request parliamentary approval for the replacement of Ukraine’s Defense Minister, citing Reznikov’s management of a full-scale war for over 550 days. Zelensky expressed confidence in Umerov’s qualifications, noting that the Ukrainian legislature is familiar with him, and further introductions are unnecessary.
Reznikov’s removal from office comes in the wake of a series of corruption scandals linked to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, although he himself has not been implicated in any wrongdoing. These scandals have nonetheless tarnished his reputation due to his association with the ministry. Earlier in the year, Reznikov’s deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, resigned amid these controversies. Reznikov acknowledged the immense stress he had faced and affirmed his clear conscience regarding the matter.
Meanwhile, Rustem Umerov, who previously represented Ukraine in peace talks at the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion, reportedly experienced symptoms of suspected poisoning during peace negotiations in March 2022, alongside Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who was also part of the negotiating team. Umerov denied these reports in a social media statement, cautioning against trusting unverified information. He expressed his commitment to seeking a political and diplomatic resolution to the ongoing invasion.
President Zelensky had made addressing internal scandals a central focus of his campaign for office. In a related development, Ihor Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s influential oligarchs and a prominent Zelensky supporter, was arrested on Saturday as part of a fraud investigation.