Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to fire Oleksii Reznikov from his position as defense minister at a time when the war with Russia was raging, became the world’s attention on Monday 4 September 2023.
Reznikov has led the ministry since before the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. The Ukrainian lawyer and politician has served as defense minister since November 4, 2021.
The man who was born on June 18 1966 previously served in several other positions in the Ukrainian government; Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories, deputy head of the Kyiv city administration from 2016 to 2018, and deputy mayor-secretary of the Kyiv city council from June 2014 to December 2015.
Reznikov also served as Head of the Ukrainian National Delegation
at the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe from 2015 to 2016, and was selected by President Volodymyr Zelensky on 5 May 2020 to represent Ukraine in the working political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group on the resolution of the War in Donbas.
Reznikov, 57, has been a well-known figure since the start of the war in Ukraine. Internationally recognized, he regularly attends meetings with Ukraine’s western allies and plays a key role in lobbying for additional military equipment.
However, his dismissal had been anticipate for some time. Last week, Reznikov told reporters that he was exploring another position as president of Ukraine.
According to Ukrainian media, the former defense minister said that if Zelensky offered him the opportunity to work on another project, he would probably agree. Ukrainian media speculated that Reznikov would be Kyiv’s new ambassador in London, where he has maintained good relations with senior politicians.
His ouster comes amid a broader crackdown on corruption in Zelensky’s government, with cracking down on corruption in the country seen as crucial to Ukraine’s desire to join Western institutions such as the European Union.
According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index
Ukraine is rank 116th out of 180 countries. However, efforts made in recent years show that its position has improved significantly.
Although Reznikov has not been personally accuse of corruption, there have a number of scandals involving the procurement of goods and equipment for the military in the Ministry of Defense.
Earlier this year Reznikov’s deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, resigned following the scandal. It was widely report at the time that Reznikov was barely holding on to his post.
At the time, Reznikov said the pressure he had experienced this year was “difficult to measure precisely”, and added that his “conscience is very clear”.
He will be replace by Umerov, who represent Ukraine in peace talks at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.