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Zelensky introduces new Defense Minister Umerov, names key tasks

by Martin Fornusek September 7, 2023 2:39 PM 2 min read
Rustem Umerov with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Saudi Arabia in May 2023 (Rustem Umerov / Twitter)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time on Sept. 7 introduced the newly-appointed Defense Minister Rustem Umerov to the ministry's leadership.

The key five priorities that the president assigned to the new defense chief include strengthening the central role of the ministry in the defense sector, putting soldiers as the foremost value, expanding international partnerships, curbing corruption, namely through digitalization, and reforming the military to NATO standards.

"The Ukrainian soldier is a key priority of the defense forces," Zelensky said. "A new philosophy of values toward Ukrainian soldiers is needed: people are not consumables."

The president stressed that bureaucratic procedures that take up too much of the soldiers' time and energy must be either simplified or removed. These efforts should also include digitalization of the bureaucratic structure.

Zelensky added that the Ukrainian military must leverage its vast experience with defense against Russian aggression to improve the training of soldiers in medical skills and combat support.

The president added that the defense minister's decisions must inspire trust and confidence. In particular, Zelensky named procurement of military supplies and intra-departmental communication in the military and the Defense Ministry as the key issues that should be addressed.

The president voiced confidence that Umerov was the right person for the task. The minister thanked Zelensky for his trust and said that Ukraine would liberate every centimeter of the occupied territory.

Umerov, the former head of the State Property Fund, replaced Oleksii Reznikov as a defense minister after the latter resigned earlier this week due to two major procurement corruption scandals.

Ukraine’s defense minister aims to introduce electronic military ID
Newly appointed Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has announced his intention to introduce an electronic military ID card in Ukraine, and launch a unified register of conscripts.
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