Ukraine’s defence minister to be replaced, sources say
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, a video grab

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is considering appointing Oleksii Reznikov, the defence minister, ambassador to the United Kingdom, three sources with knowledge of the matter told LIGA.net.

For in-depth analysis and longer stories, follow us on LinkedIn

Rustem Umerov, who now heads the Ukrainian state property fund, is likely to become a new defence minister, they added.

One of the sources in the Ukrainian presidential office said that the UK "deems okay" Mr Reznikov’s appointment as ambassador, and the president has already made the offer to him.

While they did not say what the reason behind the reshuffle was, Mr Reznikov has been plagued in a number of corruption scandals related to the procurement of materiel for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The three sources — one in the Ukrainian defence ministry and two in the presidential office — spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

Yaroslav Zhelezniak, an opposition MP, publicly confirmed the reshuffle in the defence ministry is being considered.

A spokesperson for Mr Umerov refused to comment. Mr Reznikov himself said he does not "comment on rumours".

Rustem Umerov was a Ukrainian MP before being appointed head of the state property fund last September. He had previously served as deputy head of the permanent delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and a member of the Ukrainian delegation negotiating with Russia in the early weeks of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The politician has Crimean Tatar roots, and his family was forcibly deported from Crimea by the Soviet authorities in 1944.

At a press conference earlier this week, the current defence minister publicly admitted that he had discussed possible appointment to another position with Mr Zehenskyy.

"He [Mr Zelenskyy] has several desktop projects that I could implement. They are in favour of Ukraine, in favour of increasing our defence capability, and most importantly, in favour of the future security architecture that is important for us," he said then.

The sources said it is unknown when the president will ask the parliament to dismiss Mr Reznikov and appoint a new defence minister. Mr Zhelezniak said this could happen as early as next week.