20 February 2024

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Rustem Umerov

Ukraine Appoints Rustem Umerov as New Defense Minister

Rustem Umerov will succeed Oleksii Reznikov as defence minister this week, according to Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy said on his official Telegram account that Reznikov had experienced “more than 550 days of full-scale war” and that fresh leadership was required.

The Ukrainian President continued in a night speech by saying that, in his opinion, “the Ministry needs new approaches and different formats of interaction with the military and with society.”

“This guy is well known to the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament), and Umerov doesn’t need to be introduced further. I anticipate that the legislature will approve this candidature’, Zelenskyy continued.

About Rustem Umerov:

Umerov, 41, is a politician of the opposition Holos party and has been in charge of the State Property Fund of Ukraine since September 2022. He took part in the exchange of political prisoners, children, civilians, and prisoners of war as well as the exodus of inhabitants from occupied areas. Umierov was a member of the Ukrainian team during talks with Russia over the grain agreement endorsed by the UN.

Ukrainian military scandal

A controversy involving the purchase of military jackets by the Ministry of Defence surfaced in August. Investigative journalists from Ukraine said that the materials were obtained for a price that was three times more than usual and that summer coats were ordered in place of winter ones.

The Ministry of Defence paid $86 for each jacket despite the supplier’s customs documentation from the source listing the price as $29 per unit. At a press conference the previous week, Reznikov refuted the accusations.

Zelenskyy’s statement was made after a 3.5-hour Russian drone onslaught on a port in the Odesa area of Ukraine yesterday left two persons hospitalised.

A day before he is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to negotiate the restart of food supplies from Ukraine under a Black Sea grain arrangement that Moscow withdrew from in July, Russian President Vladimir Putin orders an attack on the harbour in Reni.

In the early hours of Sunday, Russian troops launched 25 Shahed drones built in Iran along the Danube River, 22 of which were shot down by air defences, the Ukrainian Air Force said on Telegram.

Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said that Russia was behind the attack in an effort “to provoke a food crisis and hunger in the world.”