Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov will replace Oleksii Reznikov as defense minister in the face of increased Russian pressure in the east and after corruption scandals, a Ukrainian deputy announced on Sunday evening. At 37, “Kyrylo Budanov will head the defense ministry, which makes absolute sense in wartime,” said MP David Arakhamia, leader of the parliamentary group “President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People.” Oleksii Reznikov, 56, will be appointed Minister of Strategic Industries, added the elected, without specifying the expected date for this government reshuffle. “War dictates the movement of personnel,” explained the deputy. “Times and circumstances require reinforcement and focus. This is what is happening now and will continue into the future.” (LIVE UPDATES).
The ministry marked by corruption scandals
Reznikov, one of the best-known figures of the war in Ukraine, was appointed defense minister in November 2021 and helped enable the supply of Western weapons to Ukrainian forces. But his ministry was marred by corruption scandals. His deputy was forced to resign in late January after allegations that the ministry signed food supply contracts at two to three times the market price.
“I have not received any notifications”
Oleksii Reznikov said he had not been informed of his appointment to the strategic industry ministry, in an interview with local TV news site Ictv. “I can say that this is new information for me. I have not had a conversation about the Ministry of Strategic Industry with the President of Ukraine,” he said. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Reznikov said only President Volodymyr Zelensky, who tightened anti-corruption measures last week, could decide his fate. “The stress I’ve been through this year is difficult to measure accurately. I’m not ashamed of anything,” Reznikov said. “My conscience is totally clear!”.
There are conflicting versions
On his Telegram channel, David Arakhamia, head of MPs of the “Servant of the People of President Volodymyr Zelensky” party said that there will be no changes. According to Arakhamia, however, this week the new interior minister and the new head of the SBU, the intelligence services of Kiev, will be appointed. Yesterday Arakhamia himself said that the head of military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov would be appointed as the new defense minister to replace Oleksiy Reznikov.