The head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party in Ukraine’s parliament said Monday that Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will not be removed this week.
“We’re waiting for the appointment of the heads of the Interior Ministry and the SBU security service of Ukraine,” said David Arakhamia, the Servant of the People’s faction leader. “Personnel changes in the defense sector will not take place this week.”
Arakhamia said Sunday that Reznikov would be replaced as defense minister but would be given another ministerial role. Commenting on the rumors, Reznikov said only Zelensky had the power to remove him.
The talk of replacing Reznikov came after a corruption scandal rocked Ukraine, and several high-level officials were fired. Reznikov’s Defense Ministry was implicated in the scandal for overseeing the purchase of food and other military goods at inflated prices.
Reznikov himself wasn’t accused of any wrongdoing but has been under scrutiny since he oversaw the ministry at the center of the scandal. Zelensky has hinted that more leadership changes in the government over the corruption scandal could be coming.
“Unfortunately, in some areas, the only way to guarantee legitimacy is by changing leaders along with the implementation of institutional changes,” Zelensky said on February 1.
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.”