Ukraine’s defense minister was fired because Volodymyr Zelenskyi wanted to change the way he worked.
But Oleksiy Reznikov has been surrounded by corruption suspicions since the beginning of the year.
Among other things, he is said to have spent 210 million kroner on winter jackets – which could not withstand the cold.
ⓘ The summary is made with the support of AI tools from OpenAI and quality assured by Aftonbladet. Read our AI policy here.
On Sunday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on the Telegram chat service that he is firing Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
“Oleksiy Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war. I believe that the Ministry of Defense needs new ways of working and new forms of cooperation both with the military and with society as a whole,” Zelensky wrote.
But there may be other reasons why Reznikov may leave his job. Already in February, the first rumors came that he was hanging loose – due to a corruption scandal that included the purchase of military jackets, writes Kyiv Post.
The price tripled
According to sources at the Ukrainian Customs Service, the Ministry of Defense had purchased 233,000 winter jackets from a Turkish company, the newspaper writes. They would cost SEK 320 each and be used in the fall of 2022.
But customs documents from a package of 4,900 jackets on its way from Turkey to Ukraine revealed that the cost of the shipment had suddenly tripled. The price per jacket was almost 950 – and the total final sum landed at the equivalent of 210 million kroner. Then it turned out that the jackets, which were sold as winter jackets, were made of a thinner material and not at all in the camouflage fabric that was ordered – but in one that “protected against winter air”.
Family in government
The Ukrainian newspaper Pravda published on August 25 an investigation into the Turkish company that sold the jackets to Ukraine. According to Pravda, one of the company’s owners is the nephew of one Hennady Kensay, a politician in Zelensky’s ruling Servant of the People party, who sits as a member of the parliamentary committee on national security, defense and intelligence.
According to Pravda’s figures, the total price tag had landed at 30 million dollars – 330 million kroner – and what had been delivered had been summer jackets.
Refused to resign
Reznikov immediately denied that he had bought summer uniforms and challenged Pravda’s journalists.
– I propose a bet, he told the newspaper NW.
– If it turns out that the Ministry of Defense really ordered summer jackets instead of winter jackets, then I, Oleksiy Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine, will submit my resignation. I invite the Ethics Committee of the Parliament and the Ethics Commission of Journalists as judges and respectable Ukrainian media as observers to this bet.
The replacement appointed
Zelenskyy has named Rustem Umerov, 41, as Reznikov’s successor as defense minister. Umerov has been the head of Ukraine’s largest privatization fund since last September, but has also sat in parliament and played an important role in the sensitive negotiations on grain agreements, writes Reuters.
Reznikov, who has been praised for his work in bringing financial aid and military resources to Ukraine from the outside world – not least because he speaks good English – has also been accused of buying food at exorbitant prices.
Now the 57-year-old is singled out as Ukraine’s next ambassador to Great Britain, writes Reuters.