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Parliament approves Rustem Umerov as new defense minister

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk September 6, 2023 1:35 PM 2 min read
Rustem Umerov in Kyiv on May 9, 2022. (Photo credit: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted in support of appointing Rustem Umerov as the new defense minister after Oleksii Reznikov's resignation, lawmaker Yaroslav Zhelezniak reported on Sept. 6.

The former chairperson of Ukraine's State Property Fund who has been picked by President Volodymyr Zelensky as Reznikov's replacement was backed by an overwhelming majority with 338 lawmakers voting in support and one abstaining.

Zelensky announced his decision to dismiss Reznikov on Sept. 3, after which Reznikov submitted his resignation to the Rada, which approved it on Sept. 5.

Reznikov has held the post of Defense Minister since November 2021. Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he has played a vital role in coordinating military aid from foreign allies, including at multiple Ramstein summits.

However, Reznikov's tenure at the Defense Ministry has been marred by several scandals related to the procurement of equipment and supplies for Ukrainian soldiers.

His successor Umerov, an Uzbekistan-born Crimean Tatar, started his political career as a member of the Parliament for the opposition party Voice (Holos), only to later gain a government appointment as the head of the State Property Fund.

Umerov also played a major role in peace talks with Russia in the early phase of the full-scale war.

Who is Rustem Umerov, Ukraine’s soon-to-be defense minister?
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Sept. 3 that Rustem Umerov was Ukraine’s soon-to-be defense minister, he said the former MP “needs no introduction.” Days before, Umerov had been rumored to be the main candidate to replace Oleksiy Reznikov, who had held the post since Novemb…
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