Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the dismissal of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
After more than 550 days of war, the ministry needs “new approaches and other formats of interaction both with the military and with society in general,” said the president in his evening address on Sunday. As his successor, he proposed the previous head of the Fund for State Assets, Rustem Umerow.
He expects parliament to approve his proposal, Zelensky said. The 57-year-old lawyer Reznikov took office a few months before Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began in February 2022.
Resnikov has already spoken to Zelenskyi about a new post
The Ukrainian media had reported in the past – and increasingly so in the past few days – that the 57-year-old Resnikov’s replacement was imminent. Resnikov had recently repeatedly stated that he was ready to go, but that a replacement had to be found for him. Reznikov said that he talked to Zelenskyy about another post.
Resnikov had previously said in an interview that he expected the use of the F16 fighter jets against the Russian war of aggression next spring, as promised by Western allies. The minister told the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform that in addition to the training of pilots on the fighter jets in the country, the infrastructure and experts and systems for maintenance must also be available. It will therefore be spring before the machines are actually used at the front.
The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway had pledged F-16 supplies to Ukraine. Reznikov also said he had to write several letters with assurances that these NATO weapons would not be used against Russian territory. On the other hand, Russia had warned that the use of Western warplanes would contribute to the further escalation of violence in the war.
So far, the country has been assured of more than 50 aircraft, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently demanded a total of 160 F-16s, with which the country wants to regain sovereignty over its airspace. Several countries are involved in training Ukrainian pilots.
Editor’s note: Article has been updated to include additional information
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