- By Paul Adams, International Correspondent and Malu Curcino
- BBC News
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced the dismissal of Oleksiy Reznikov as Defense Minister.
Mr Reznikov led the ministry ahead of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
In his nightly speech, President Zelensky said it was time for “new approaches” in the Defense Ministry.
Rustem Umerov, who runs Ukraine’s State Property Fund, has been nominated by Mr Zelensky as Mr Reznikov’s successor.
“I believe that the Ministry needs new approaches and other forms for both the military and society as a whole,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly speech from the capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian media have speculated that Mr Reznikov will become Kyiv’s new ambassador to London, where he has developed rapport with senior politicians.
Mr Reznikov, 57, has become a well-known figure in Ukraine since the start of the war. Internationally recognized, he regularly attended meetings with Ukraine’s Western allies and was instrumental in lobbying for additional military equipment.
But his removal has been expected for some time. Last week, Mr Reznikov told reporters he was exploring other positions with Ukraine’s president.
According to Ukrainian media, former Defense Minister Mr Zelensky said he would agree if he was offered the chance to work on another project.
And his removal comes amid a broader anti-corruption drive in Mr Zelensky’s administration, weeding out state graft seen as vital to the country’s desire to join Western institutions such as the European Union.
Although Mr Reznikov has not been personally accused of corruption, there have been several scandals involving the procurement of goods and equipment for the military at the Ministry of Defence.
Earlier this year, Mr Reznikov’s deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, resigned in the wake of the scandal. It was widely reported at the time that Mr Reznikov was absent from his own post.
His removal comes as Ukraine mounts a slow and bloody counteroffensive after receiving advanced weaponry from Western allies.
Progress on the front has been slow, but top Ukrainian generals recently said Kyiv troops had hit key Russian defenses.