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Defence Minister Reznikov to be dismissed, sources say

Rustem Umerov is a candidate for the post of the new head of the Defence Ministry. 

Defence Minister Reznikov to be dismissed, sources say
Photo: EPA/UPG

Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov is to be dismissed. This was reported to by sources familiar with the situation.

Instead, the current head of the State Property Fund, Rustem Umerov, may become the Minister of Defence. This information, in addition to's interlocutors, was confirmed by UP's sources in the government and the Verkhovna Rada.

The President has already met with Umerov to discuss the results of the Fund's work.

"Umerov himself could not deny or confirm the information that he would take another post," the journalists added.

According to the Constitution, the president submits the candidacy of the defence minister to the parliament for consideration.

Rustem Umerov is an ethnic Crimean Tatar, born in Alushta. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in finance from the National Academy of Management. He started his career at “lifecell”, holding various management positions from 2004 to 2010. He was in charge of legal support and logistics. At the same time, he started to engage in investment activities.

In 2013, together with his brother, he founded the ASTEM investment company and the ASTEM Foundation.

In 2019, he was elected as a Member of Parliament of the 9th convocation from the Holos party, number 18 on the list as a non-partisan. He is a member of the same faction. On 7 September, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada appointed Rustem Umerov as the Head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine.

After the start of the full-scale invasion, he was a member of the negotiation group with the Russians. He participated in negotiations with American allies on weapons for Ukraine. 

According to's interlocutors, Rustem Umerov is an important communicator between Kyiv and the Turkish authorities and the Saudi royal family.

This is not the first time that information about Reznikov's resignation has appeared. Initially, the issue of his dismissal arose in the spring, when a scandal broke out over food purchases for the Armed Forces. Investigative journalists claimed that food for our defenders was purchased under suspicious contracts and inflated prices, for example, 17 hryvnias per egg. The Ministry of Defence, on the other hand, claimed that this was the price for a "kilogram of eggs" and that technical errors were allegedly made in the preparation of the documents.

The scandal led to the fact that government officials began to talk openly about the minister's dismissal. The head of the Servant of the People faction, David Arakhamia, announced on his Telegram channel that he was considering Reznikov's resignation and appointing Kirill Budanov, head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, to replace him. Reznikov was "predicted" to become the Minister of Strategic Industry, but's sources reported that he was not going to accept it. When asked about his dismissal, he said that there are no permanent positions, and the decision on whether to be a minister is made by the president.

Investigations into procurement in the Defence Ministry have gone beyond journalistic investigations - law enforcement is now dealing with these cases. Against this backdrop, the Defence Ministry has created a public anti-corruption council, and Reznikov has new deputies.

For the second time, the issue of the minister's resignation arose because of another journalistic investigation about jackets. The journalists said that last year the ministry bought allegedly lightweight jackets from a Turkish company (owned by Ukrainians, one of whom was the nephew of Kasay, a Servant of the People MP and member of the Defence Committee) at the price of winter jackets. On the way to Ukraine, the jackets allegedly went up in price. Because of this, the parliament's anti-corruption committee convened a meeting. Reznikov's deputy, Sharapov, brought a sample of the jackets he had purchased, but the committee said they were clothes from another party. The committee also found out that the investigation into the purchases from this Turkish company had been underway since autumn, before the journalists made it public. The Ministry of Defence noted that there had been no complaints about the jackets.

The minister offered a bet to Anastasia Radina, head of the anti-corruption committee, who had been actively advocating for his dismissal, and journalist Mykhailo Tkach. He said that if the 180,000 jackets purchased from a Turkish company turned out to be summer jackets, as the journalists claimed, he would resign. If it turns out that the ministry purchased 180,000 winter jackets, as it should, MP Anastasia Radina should resign her mandate, and UP journalist Mykhailo Tkach should resign from the media and suspend his journalistic activities for three years.

Both Radina and Tkach publicly responded to Reznikov's proposal, and Reznikov interpreted them as disagreement.

After that, Reznikov gave a press conference where he showed jackets with tags that corresponded to the purchased batch. Reznikov emphasised that the journalist's investigation was "untrue”. “There is not a single contract to date where we would turn summer jackets into winter jackets. It is impossible. Because the command of the logistics forces would not accept them from us.”

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