Oleksii Reznikov, the defense minister of Ukraine, has announced his resignation.
Since before the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Mr. Reznikov had served as the ministry’s leader.
The departure of Mr. Reznikov was announced by President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, citing the need for “new approaches” in the defense ministry.
The State Property Fund of Ukraine’s Rustem Umerov has been proposed as Mr. Reznikov’s replacement.
Mr. Reznikov acknowledged that he had delivered his resignation letter to the nation’s parliament in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Since he has established positive relationships with important politicians in London, Ukrainian media has speculated that he may be appointed as Kyiv’s new ambassador there.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the 57-year-old has gained notoriety. He is well-known internationally and has actively lobbied for more military hardware by attending meetings with Ukraine’s western partners on a regular basis.
But it has been long expected that he will be fired. With the president of Ukraine, Mr. Reznikov informed reporters last week that he was looking into other roles.
The former defense minister reportedly stated that he would likely agree if Mr. Zelensky provided him the chance to work on another project.
In order to prepare Ukraine for eventual NATO membership, Mr. Reznikov oversaw the overhaul of the ministry, according to Ukrainian defense expert Yuriy Sak, who spoke with the BBC.
In reference to Mr. Reznikov’s effective arm-lobbying of other governments, he remarked, “His legacy is that he has convinced ministers of defence around the world that the impossible is possible.”
However, observers have noted that with Gen Valery Zaluzhny, the head of Ukraine’s military forces, in charge of the war, it is unlikely that the cabinet shuffle would result in any significant changes in the country’s battlefield strategy.
The removal of Mr. Reznikov coincides with a broader anti-corruption initiative in Mr. Zelensky’s government, which has been viewed as crucial to Ukraine’s aspirations to join Western organizations like the EU.
Ukraine is ranked 116th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, although thanks to initiatives in recent years, its ranking has greatly improved.
There have been other scandals at the ministry of defense involving the purchase of products and equipment for the army at exorbitant costs, despite the fact that Mr. Reznikov is not personally charged with wrongdoing.
Vyacheslav Shapovalov, Mr. Reznikov’s deputy, resigned earlier this year as a result of the incident. At the time, it was generally believed that Mr. Reznikov clung to his own position by a thread.
He said that his “conscience is absolutely clear” and that it was “hard to measure precisely” how much stress he had experienced at the time.
A number of recent arrests at regional recruitment offices, where personnel are suspected of accepting bribes to let men dodge the Ukrainian military draft, have also shocked the defense ministry.
Senior Ukrainian anti-corruption officials were contacted by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Friday, who urged them to continue pursuing anti-corruption cases “no matter where they lead.”
At the outset of Russia’s extensive invasion, Mr. Umerov, who was proposed by the president, represented Ukraine in peace negotiations.
During peace talks in March 2022, the ex-MP and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who was also a party to the negotiations, allegedly displayed indications of possible poisoning. Later, he disputed the accusations in a Facebook post and urged people not to believe “unverified information.”
At the time, he told the BBC that finding answers required bravery, but he was committed to “find [a] political and diplomatic resolution to this brutal invasion.”
He is a Crimean Tatar and has played a significant role in Mr. Zelensky’s worldwide outreach initiatives, which center on strengthening ties with the Islamic world.
The resignation of Mr. Reznikov occurs as Ukraine launches a violent and drawn-out counteroffensive after obtaining more sophisticated weapons from Western partners.
Top Ukrainian generals said on Sunday that their forces had penetrated a crucial line of Russian defenses in the country’s south despite the fact that progress on the frontline had been slow.
A number of attempted drone assaults on Russian territory were recorded overnight, according to Russia.
Early on Monday, the defense ministry reported shooting down two drones over the bordering Ukrainian province of Kursk.
Roman Stravoit, the region’s governor, also noted on Sunday that a non-residential building in Kurchatov had caught fire due to debris from a damaged drone.
In a separate incident, Russia launched a 3.5-hour midnight assault on the Odesa area of Ukraine, and the governor said that 17 drones were shot down.
Oleh Kiper continued, “Unfortunately, there are also hits,” noting that “several settlements” in the Izmail area had suffered damage. However, he claimed that nobody was hurt or killed.
Izmail, one of Ukraine’s two main grain exporting ports, is located in the Odessa region along the Danube River.
Since the Black Sea grain deal fell through in July, the Danube ports have emerged as Ukraine’s primary export route. Since leaving the agreement, Moscow has attacked the Danube frequently.