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  |   Politics


Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv to replace defense minister Reznikov

Chad J. McNeeley (US Secretary of Defense) / Wikimedia Commons

Ukraine has warned that Russia is gearing up for a new offensive coinciding with the first anniversary of its invasion this month. In what seems to be an unprecedented reshuffle of officials in Kyiv, Ukrainian defense minister Oleksii Reznikov is set to be replaced.

A senior Ukrainian lawmaker, David Arakhamia, said in a post on the Telegram messaging platform on Sunday that Reznikov would be replaced as part of a cabinet reshuffling. Reznikov would be transferred to another ministerial job and would be succeeded by Kyrylo Budanov, who is currently the chief of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency.

“War dictates personal policies,” said Arakhamia, who is a close ally of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has not issued a statement regarding the replacement of Reznikov, who became the country’s defense minister in November 2021.

Arakhamia added that Ukraine’s “force” agencies should not be led by politicians during wartime but by people who have backgrounds in defense or security. Budanov has led the intelligence agency since 2020 and holds the rank of major general.

“Time and circumstances require reinforcement and regrouping. This is happening now and will continue to happen in the future,” said Arakhamia. “The enemy is preparing to advance. We are preparing to defend ourselves.”

Reznikov has helped secure Western weapons to bolster Ukrainian forces, and his removal would be the highest-profile personnel change in the midst of resignations and dismissals after a corruption scandal broke out in January and Zelenskyy’s pledge to crack down on corruption to meet the standards of clean governance.

The corruption scandal surrounded food contracts that looked to pay inflated prices. One of Reznikov’s deputies was dismissed, while two other defense officials also stepped down from their posts.

On Tuesday, the British defense ministry said Russia’s operational goal in its upcoming offensive would be to seize the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where some parts are still controlled by Ukraine.

The ministry noted that Russia’s military leaders would demand continued “sweeping” advances but it appears unlikely that Russia would be able to build up the needed forces that could significantly affect the outcome of the war.

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