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Media: Zelensky to dismiss Defense Minister Reznikov, intelligence chief seen as likely successor

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 5, 2023 11:40 AM 2 min read
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Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will likely be dismissed from his ministerial post next week, Ukrainian news outlet Ukrainska Pravda reported on Feb. 5, citing government and military sources.

According to the sources, the likely replacement for Reznikov is understood to be Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine's military intelligence agency HUR.

In a soon-to-be-published interview with Ukrainska Pravda, Reznikov reportedly denied any knowledge of an imminent dismissal.

“I have not had any conversations about my resignation from this position,” he reportedly said.

A government source confirmed to the Kyiv Independent that Reznikov was likely to be replaced in the very near future.

Upon dismissal, Reznikov could be appointed to a new post as Justice Minister, as “no one in the Presidential Office has any doubt” that Reznikov should stay in the government, according to the Ukrainska Pravda article.

According to the report, Denys Maliuska, the current Justice Minister, could be appointed as an ambassador to a Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Europe.

The report hasn't provided information on who will head Ukraine's military intelligence agency if Budanov is appointed as defense minister.

Reznikov, 56, has served as Defense Minister since he was appointed on Nov. 4, 2021, overseeing the ministry throughout the entirety of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

In this time, Reznikov played an important role in the campaigning for and securing of Western military aid that has proved vital to Ukraine's resistance against Russia.

In late January, the Defense Ministry was beset by a high-profile corruption scandal that led to the firing of several top officials.

Ukrainian newspaper ZN.UA reported on Jan. 21 that the Defense Ministry procured large amounts of food products for the military at inflated prices. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine has since opened an investigation into the alleged scheme.

Reznikov’s deputy, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, was dismissed from the Defense Ministry on Jan. 24.

On Jan. 31, Reznikov said that an audit of the army's procurement process had been launched on June 29. Its initial results in December found that the procurement system was deficient.

When the ZN.UA article first broke, Reznikov denied any wrongdoing, saying that whoever leaked the procurement documents committed a crime.

A court arrested Shapovalov for 60 days on Feb. 2.

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