Ukraine’s ruling political party, Servant of the People, said Sunday that they will remove Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov from his post and replace him with Kyrylo Budanov, who is currently serving as Ukraine’s military intelligence chief.
David Arakhamia, the head of the Servant of the People’s bloc in parliament, said that Reznikov will remain in the Zelensky government and is going to be transferred to another ministerial position.
Arakhamia said the change was due to the fact that a career military official should head the Defense Ministry, not a career politician like Reznikov. But the move came after a corruption scandal that recently rocked Ukraine and resulted in the firing of several senior officials.
One of the scandals was over the Ukrainian Defense Ministry purchasing food and other goods at an inflated price. Reznikov himself was not implicated in any transactions but has come under scrutiny as he headed the ministry at the time of the scandal.
Reznikov and other officials in the Defense Ministry insisted there was no wrongdoing and that any inflated numbers were due to a “technical mistake.” But due to the scandal, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, Vyacheslav Shapovalov, was forced out.
Throughout the war, Reznikov has made very candid comments about the Western role in the conflict. Last summer, he offered his country as a “testing ground” for Western arms makers in a pitch to secure new weapons. He recently insisted that Ukraine is a de facto NATO member and said Ukrainians were “shedding blood” for a “NATO mission.”
On Sunday, Reznikov said he was confident that the US and its allies would provide fighter jets, saying Ukraine has received everything on its “wish list to Santa” except planes. ”