Skip to content

Ukraine's defense deputies fired after graft probe as Zelensky flies to US to talk war and reconstruction

Ukraine's new Defense Minister Rustem Umerov

By Ukraine Rebuild News Staff, Sept 19, 2023

Ukraine’s six deputy defense ministers were fired, a week after the toppling of their boss in a corruption scandal, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flies to Washington, DC to meet US President Joe Biden and members of Congress to push for more military, humanitarian and reconstruction aid.

The government announced the firing in a brief press release on Telegram but offered no further explanation. Although such a move is common after the departure of a cabinet minister and may be a matter of routine, the announcement comes as Zelensky prepares for a series of important meetings in the US, which has repeatedly called on Ukraine to fight corruption.

Zelensky is scheduled to attend the UN General Assembly in New York this week, then meet Biden on Thursday and US Congress in a separate visit. Zelensky’s trip is also the first since the US government named Obama-era commerce secretary Penny Pritzker to the new role of special representative to the reconstruction of Ukraine.

In her first interview after taking on the post, Pritzker said corruption will be her first major focus in her new role.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, who took office earlier this month after his predecessor Oleksii Reznikov quit in scandal, called the firings of the deputy ministers a “reboot” in a post on Facebook.

“Rebooted. Here we go. Getting it done. We are working as usual. The rest of the news - in a while,” he said, adding that “now the focus is on Rammstein” in reference to upcoming talks on military aid from donor governments.

Reznikov quit amid a growing scandal over a military purchase of jackets for soldiers at three times the market cost, but he denied wrongdoing.

Sign up for free access to all articles and a weekly newsletter!

Pease check your inbox and click the link to complete signup, Thank You!
Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.