(TheLastPatriotNews.com) – In a dramatic move, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is replacing his defense minister in his biggest Cabinet shakeup since Russia invaded Ukraine.
In his evening video address to the nation on Sunday night, Zelenskyy, 45, announced he was replacing Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, as quoted by Reuters and Newsmax.
Reznikov, 57, has been Ukraine’s Defense Minister for 22 months, since November 2021, taking over the job weeks before Russia attacked his country from three sides in February 2022.
Both Zelenskyy and Reznikov are Ukrainians of Jewish origin. Ukraine’s new defense minister will be Rustam Umerov, a representative of the Crimean Tatar minority, which is presently repressed by the Russian occupation of the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula.
In the early Soviet period, the entire Tatar population was deported from Crimea to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin, and the survivors, including Umerov’s family, were allowed to return to their ancestral Crimean homes only in the 1980s under Mikhail Gorbachev.
41-year-old Umerov, a former telecom executive and former lawmaker fluent in English and Turkish has been the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund since September 2022.
“I’ve decided to replace the Minister of Defense of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has been through more than 550 days of full-scale war. I believe the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole,” Zelenskyy declared in his Sunday evening speech.
According to Reuters, Reznikov played a significant role in convincing Western nations to support Ukraine with military aid against Russia’s invasion.
He has had multiple meetings with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, but the Pentagon declined to comment on his dismissal, saying it was an internal Ukrainian matter.
Since January, there has been pressure to let Reznikov go over allegations that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry bought food and winter coats at inflated prices.
The outgoing defense minister has denied corruption accusations against him as a smear campaign by the opposition.
According to Igor Sushko, a Ukrainian-American commentator, the real reason Zelenskyy decided to fire Reznikov was the latter’s failure to join the US Defense Department’s “Golden Sentry” program monitoring the use of US-supplied weapons.
“Golden Sentry is critical for Ukraine’s victory, and can open up the floodgates to American advanced weapons systems. Reznikov failed to join the program in nearly 2 years on the job,” Sushko wrote on X.