Ukraine to Change Defense Ministers

Ukraine needs 'new approaches,' president tells nation
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2023 4:40 PM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2023 7:03 PM CDT
Zelensky Names New Defense Minister
Soldiers of Ukraine's 3rd Separate Assault Brigade line up near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, of Ukraine, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Libkos)

Ukraine is changing defense ministers, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced in his Sunday evening video address, a year and a half after Russia's invasion began. If the parliament approves, Oleksii Reznikov will be replaced by Rustem Umerov, a former legislator, the Washington Post reports. "I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction both with the military and with society as a whole," Zelensky said. Ukrainian forces are pressing a counteroffensive that's been moving slowly.

A 3½-hour drone attack on a port in the Odessa region injured two people and damaged infrastructure, Ukrainian officials said Sunday, per the AP. The air force reported shooting down 22 of 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones along the Danube River early Sunday. Zelensky's chief of staff called the attack part of Russia's attempt "to provoke a food crisis and hunger in the world." Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to discuss reviving food shipments from Ukraine under the Black Sea grain agreement that Russia left in July on Monday with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Umerov, a member of the opposition Holos party, has been involved in the exchange of prisoners of war, as well as political prisoners, children, and other civilians. Reznikov is well-known to Ukraine's Western allies, attending their meetings and lobbying for shipments of military equipment, per the BBC. Although he has not been accused of corruption, the defense ministry has been shaken by procurement scandals, and his deputy stepped down earlier this year. Reznikov had told Ukrainian media that if Zelensky offered him another post, he'd probably take it. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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