Ukraine’s Defence Minister to be replaced next week – Zelenskyy

Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov will be replaced this week with Rustem Umierov, a Crimean Tatar politician.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the announcement on his official Telegram account on Sunday.

“I have decided to replace the Minister of Defence of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war. I believe that the Ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large. Now Rustem Umierov should lead the Ministry,” he said.

Reports say the announcement came after two people were hospitalised following a three-hour Russian drone barrage on a port in Ukraine’s Odesa region on Sunday.

The Ukrainian air force said on Telegram that Russian forces fired 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones along the Danube River in the early hours of Sunday, 22 of which were shot down by air defences.

According to the report by Associated Press AP, the attack on the Reni seaport came as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepared to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss the resumption of food shipments from Ukraine under a Black Sea grain agreement that Moscow broke off from in July.

Putin and Erdogan’s long-awaited meeting is due to take place in Sochi on Russia’s southwest coast on Monday, and Turkish officials have confirmed that the pair will discuss renewing the Black Sea grain initiative, which the Kremlin pulled out of six weeks ago.

The deal — brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022 — had allowed nearly 33 million tonnes of grain and other commodities to leave three Ukrainian ports safely despite Russia’s war.

Russia however broke away from the agreement after claiming that a parallel deal promising to remove obstacles to Russian exports of food and fertiliser hadn’t been honoured.

Reznikov’s replacement,
Umierov, is a politician with the opposition Holos party, who has served as head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine since September 2022.

The 41 years old was involved in the exchange of prisoners of war, political prisoners, children and civilians, as well as the evacuation of civilians from occupied territories.

He was also part of the Ukrainian delegation in negotiations with Russia over the UN-backed grain deal.
Source: AP

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