The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has decided to dispense with one of the key men of the Government in the middle of the war with Russia, which has already lasted more than 18 months, and of the counter-offensive with which Kyiv aims to recover the occupied territory by Moscow On Sunday, he announced in a video night speech that this week he will propose to the Rada (unicameral parliament) the dismissal of the Minister of Defense, Oleksí Réznikov. He assured yesterday, Monday, that he had already formalized his resignation.

“I have sent my letter of resignation to Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament,” Réznikov reported on the social network X (formerly Twitter). “It has been an honor to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the Ukrainian military for the past 22 months, the most difficult period in Ukraine’s modern history,” he added.

Réznikov, 57, has headed Ukraine’s Defense Ministry since 2021. Zelenskiy explained the change as the need for “new approaches”. The replacement could respond to a desire to reorganize the current counter-offensive.

In Russia, replacement is related to the end of the conflict. It is related, the head of the Crimean Parliament, Vladimir Konstantínov, assured Ria Nóvosti yesterday, with the failure of the Ukrainian troops’ counteroffensive. “These movements indicate that they are not achieving the goals of the counteroffensive,” commented Konstantínov, in line with the Kremlin’s position. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Ukrainian counter-offensive had failed. Kyiv launched the counter-offensive at the beginning of June and has admitted that it is going “slower” than it would like.

But the truth is that Réznikov’s replacement has been discussed since February, due to a corruption scandal. Then, the purchase of products for the military at inflated prices meant that several high-ranking officials lost their positions in the department. Members of Zelenski’s party, Servant of the People, then took Réznikov’s replacement for granted. But the interested party denied any involvement in cases of corruption in army contracts and assured that the Ukrainian president himself asked him to stay in office.

During Sunday’s message, Zelenskiy proposed that instead of Réznikov, now, 41-year-old ex-deputy Rustem Umerov, who currently heads the State Property Fund, be appointed.

Réznikov must step down because the Department needs “new approaches and other formats of interaction, both with the military and with society in general,” Zelenski said.

Umerov was born into a family of Crimean Tatars deported in 1982 to Samarkand (Uzbekistan, then one of the member republics of the Soviet Union). Graduated in Economics, then obtained a master’s degree in finance at the National Academy of Administration of Ukraine. In 2019 he was elected deputy of the Supreme Rada of the Golos (Voice) party. Since 2022, he chairs the State Property Fund of Ukraine, which implements state policy in the spheres of privatization, rental, use and alienation of state property or management of state property.