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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky Fires Defense Minister, Calls for New Approach in War with Russia

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Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, saying the ministry needs “new approaches” as the war with Russia enters its 19th month.


Reznikov’s removal comes in the wake of a number of corruption scandals involving Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense. While Reznikov has not been implicated in any of them, the scandals have still been seen to damage him by association.


Zelensky has said rooting out corruption across Ukraine’s government is vital to Kyiv’s chances of attaining long-awaited membership in NATO and the European Union.


The Ukrainian president made cracking down on internal scandals a central issue in his campaign for office.


“This week, parliament will be asked to make a personnel decision. … I have decided to replace the minister of defense of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” the Ukrainian leader said on Sunday, September 3.


Zelensky nominated Rustem Umerov, the former people’s deputy of Ukraine, to become the new defense minister.


“The Verkhovna Rada (legislature) of Ukraine knows this person well, and Mr. Umerov does not need any additional introductions,” Zelensky said. “I expect parliament to support this candidate.”


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