Zelenskyy lashes out at 'rumours' that he is about to hearth his wartime defence minister

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is making an try to stamp out widespread experiences that he is about to interchange his defence minister inside the wake of a corruption scandal that has touched a nerve with the ultimate public on this embattled nation.

In an tackle to parliament Tuesday, Zelenskyy acknowledged as for an finish to “rumours or one other pseudo-information” about whether or not Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov will most likely be dismissed.

His assertion was meant to douse the predominant predominant political hearth his administration has expert since Russia launched its full-scale invasion virtually a 12 months in the past.

The president mentioned that conjecture about Reznikov’s destiny solely undermines nationwide unity at a essential time inside the warfare.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov (proper) speaks to the media alongside inside Minister Denys Monastyrskyi after observing an practice of emergency responders and nationwide Guard troops on the deserted metropolis of Chernobyl in early 2022. (Murray Brewster/CBC information)

Zelenskyy recognized that solely the president can dismiss a minister.

“we’re taking personnel and institutional steps at different ranges inside the defence and safety sector which will strengthen Ukraine’s place,” Zelenskyy wrote in a Telegram put up, citing his remarks to lawmakers.

His silence so far has solely fuelled the hypothesis, nonetheless.

David Arakhamia, a senior member of parliament who additionally occurs to be an very important supporter of the president, was quoted on Sunday saying Reznikov can be shuffled out of defence and given one other portfolio in response to a corruption scandal on the defence ministry involving meals gives for troopers.

the following day, Arakhamia appeared to partially stroll again his suggestions when he mentioned that there can be no personnel modifications “this week.”

completely different members of the Ukrainian parliament have publicly defended Reznikov’s report.

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Oleksandr Musiienko, the pinnacle of the center for navy and authorized research in Kyiv, mentioned the minister himself faces no private allegations of corruption. What has been having fun with out for the previous week or extra has been an practice in political accountability, he mentioned.

Zelenskyy is decided to level out that Kyiv typically is a safe steward for billions of dollars in allied assist — and additionally a safe place for western funding as his authorities struggles to protect the financial system afloat.

Musiienko mentioned the federal authorities is caught between a rock and a sturdy place, politically. typical information, he mentioned, insists that if there’s “corruption in [Reznikov’s] ministry, so underneath his ministry he should resign.”

however Musiienko mentioned there isn’t any clear-reduce consensus in parliament on what ought to happen to Reznikov.

Late final month, Ukraine’s safety Service (SBU) introduced it had damaged up an enormous-scale embezzlement scheme meant to siphon public funds earmarked for the acquisition of meals for the navy.

In an announcement posted on Telegram on Feb. three, the SBU mentioned the fraud had value the defence ministry greater than 119.5 million Hryvnia — about $three.24 million US, or about $4.three million Cdn.

The acknowledgement adopted allegations in native media that the ministry overpaid suppliers for the meals. the agency on the centre of the scandal insisted it was a technical mistake and no further money actually modified fingers. The defence ministry dismissed the media experiences as baseless allegations.

as a outcome of the scandal was rising, Zelenskyy mentioned nothing. however confronted with headlines on Tuesday alleging “turmoil” inside the defence ministry, the president chosen to discuss out.

“it is solely by serving to our nation, not permitting the enemy to play with the feelings of our of us and doing every little thing potential for our warriors to have extra weapons, that we will guarantee Ukraine’s success,” he advised Ukraine’s parliament. “And we’ll!”

Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov shakes fingers with Minister of Defence Anita Anand as they arrive for a gathering at NATO headquarters in Brussels. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty photos)

The deliberation over Reznikov’s future was the predominant public crack inside the strong entrance of Ukraine’s wartime management.

Musiienko mentioned the timing is unhealthy, coming forward of subsequent week’s common gathering of the allied nations that current Ukraine with navy devices. Ukraine is predicted to enter that meeting arguing forcefully for western warplanes.

“He has good relations with our allies,” Musiienko mentioned of Reznikov. “that is very important.”

The scandal additionally comes at an awkward time for the warfare effort itself. Russia has been signalling that it is ready to go on the offensive inside the run-as a lot as a outcome of the one-12 months anniversary of the invasion.

Musiienko mentioned the investigation of the meals contracts is regular and the invention of potential irregularities is an indication in itself that Ukraine’s “anti-corruption buildings” are working.

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