Ukraine replacing its defense minister nearly one year into Russia’s invasion

Ukraine’s military intelligence chief will replace Oleksiy Reznikov as defense minister in one of the highest profile changes to the country’s leadership since Russia invaded one year ago, officials said on Sunday. 

David Arakhamia, the majority leader of Ukraine’s parliament, said Sunday that Kyrylo Budanov’s appointment to defense minister is being done to “strengthen military-industrial cooperation, which is absolutely logical.”

Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov (left) during the briefing on the Return of the Defenders of Ukraine from Russian Captivity, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. 

Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov (left) during the briefing on the Return of the Defenders of Ukraine from Russian Captivity, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. 
(Pavlo Bahmut/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Reznikov said earlier on Sunday that the decision ultimately lies with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is yet to publicly announce the change. 

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY TELLS FOX NEWS RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE HAS ALREADY STARTED

“Not a single official is in the chair forever. Not alone. You have to be ready that this stage will end,” Reznikov said at a press conference. 

“I will do everything for our victory. My profession as a lawyer allows me to think optimistically that I will find an interesting project to not only win this war, but also to punish the military of the Russian Federation.” 

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, right, shakes hand with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov during a bilateral meeting ahead of a Meeting of the NATO Council Defense Ministers at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. 

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, right, shakes hand with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov during a bilateral meeting ahead of a Meeting of the NATO Council Defense Ministers at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. 
(Stephanie Lecocq/Pool Via AP)

The reshuffling comes amid a corruption scandal that swept through the upper echelons of Ukraine’s government last month. 

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Several top officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov and Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko, resigned in late January amid accusations that inflated prices were paid for the army’s food supplies. 

The defense ministry has denied the accusations of corruption and said the resignations were done to ensure the public’s trust in the ministry. 

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report. 



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