Ukraine to replace defence minister after corruption scandals: MP
KYIV, Ukraine (AFP) — Ukraine’s defence minister will be replaced by the chief of military intelligence ahead of an expected Russian offensive and following corruption scandals, a senior lawmaker said on Sunday.
“Kyrylo Budanov will head the defence ministry, which is absolutely logical in wartime,” said senior lawmaker David Arakhamia, referring to the 37-year-old head of military intelligence.
Oleksiy Reznikov, 56, will be appointed minister for strategic industries, the lawmaker said without specifying a timeline for the planned reshuffle.
“War dictates personnel policies,” added Arakhamia, who is the head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party.
“Time and circumstances require reinforcement and regrouping. This is happening now and will continue to happen in the future,” he added.
“The enemy is preparing to advance. We are preparing to defend ourselves.”
Reznikov said in an interview with a local news site that he had not been told about his new appointment to the Ministry of Strategic Industries.
“I can comment that this is new information for me. I did not have any conversation about the Ministry of Strategic Industries with the president of Ukraine,” he said.
One of the best-known faces of Ukraine’s war effort, Reznikov was appointed defence minister in November 2021 and has helped secure Western weapons to buttress Ukrainian forces.
But his ministry has been beset by corruption scandals.
Reznikov’s deputy was forced to resign in late January after the ministry was accused of signing food contracts at prices two to three times higher than current rates for basic foodstuffs.
Speaking to reporters earlier Sunday, Reznikov said only President Volodymyr Zelensky, who last week stepped up efforts to clamp down on corruption, could decide his fate.
“The stress that I have endured this year is hard to measure precisely. I am not ashamed of anything,” Reznikov said. “My conscience is absolutely clear.”