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Cabinet of Ministers appoints new First Deputy Defense Minister

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 14, 2023 5:22 PM 1 min read
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The Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Ivan Rusnak as Ukraine's First Deputy Minister of Defense and appointed Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavlyuk as his successor on Feb. 14.

Leading up to Pavlyuk's appointment, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Feb. 13 allowing military officials to take on the role. Previous legislation indicated that only civilians and former military personnel were permitted to do so.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced on Feb. 13 that he had submitted the names of several candidates for deputy ministers that would "improve work efficiency." He also shared details about meetings with working groups within the anti-corruption advisory body under the Defense Ministry. Some of the members of these working groups include representatives from noted anti-corruption NGOs.

These personnel changes come after the Ukrainian newspaper ZN.UA published a story on Jan. 21 on how the Defense Ministry was reportedly paying two to three times as much for food for the military, citing the ministry's food procurement contract. Reznikov called the allegations false, but Ukraine's National Anti-Corruption Bureau opened an investigation on Jan. 23.

Following the outbreak of the scandal, 497 officials in Ukraine's Armed Forces and Defense Ministry were fined, and 124 faced disciplinary liability following internal audits from 2022. Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov was also later dismissed. The court arrested him for 60 days on Feb. 2.

Lawmaker David Arakhamia said on Feb. 5. that Reznikov would be replaced as Defense Minister by current Intelligence Chief Kyrylo Budanov, but that change has not happened.

Intelligence Chief Budanov to head Defense Ministry after upcoming reshuffle
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