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Zelensky ousts Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov

UPI
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan meets with Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov at the Mariinsky Palace during U.S. President Joe Biden's unannounced visit on Feb. 27, in Kyiv, Ukraine. File Photo by Ukrainian President Press Office / UPI

Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shaking up the leadership of his nation's defenses Sunday, announcing the dismissal of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Zelensky has nominated Rustem Umerov to succeed Reznikov, CNN reports. Umerov is the former people's deputy of Ukraine.

"This week, parliament will be asked to make a personnel decision. ... I have decided to replace the minister of defense of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war," Zelensky said.

The move comes as Zelensky attempts to clean out the Defense Ministry following an investigation into corruption, though Reznikov has not been implicated in the investigation.

Zelensky added that he believes the defense ministry is in need of "new approaches," The New York Times reports. Reznikov has been a key fixture in Ukraine's defense against the Russian invasion throughout the war. He was one of several officials to remain in Kyiv alongside Zelensky when it was surrounded by Russian forces.

The BBC reports that Reznikov had been discussing other positions with Zelensky.

Last month Zelensky announced the replacement of key officials in charge of recruiting after it was found they had illegally obtained and hidden millions in assets.

Zelensky said at that time there were 112 criminal proceedings against 33 recruitment officials. It was later revealed that two high-ranking officials had misappropriated about $1.68 million in funds.