Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov is set to be replaced by Kyiv’s military intelligence chief, legislators from President Volodymyr Zelensky’s party said on Sunday.
According to several lawmakers, the planned reshuffle would see Reznikov move to a more senior government position. He said that Major General Kirillo Budanov would become the Defense Minister.
According to reports, in the next few days, there will be a vote on this change in the Parliament of Ukraine.
If confirmed, it would be the biggest blow to the Zelensky administration since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year.
Other senior officials who are currently in acting roles are likely to be confirmed in office.
David Arakhamiya, the parliamentary head of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, said: “War dictates personnel policy. Time and circumstances demand to strengthen and regroup.”
“The transfer of Oleksiy Reznikov to the post of Minister of Strategic Industries within the government to strengthen military-industrial cooperation is absolutely logical,” Arkhamia said. He pointed to Reznikov’s experience over the past year in procuring weapons from Ukraine’s Western backers.
Budanov, a 37-year-old former special forces operative, has been the head of the military intelligence unit since 2020.
Zelensky has not commented on the planned reshuffle or new appointments. Some moves would require a candidacy to be formally submitted to the president for approval. His party holds a shaky majority in parliament and regularly gains votes from allies.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense secures weapons and supplies for the army, while military operations are independently formulated and implemented by the General Staff under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzny.
Arakhamia said legislators would promote Ihor Klemenko, the stand-in head of the interior ministry. A career police officer, Klemenko took over as acting minister last month after his predecessor, Denis Monastirsky, died in a helicopter crash outside Kyiv.
Arkhamia said Vasyl Malyuk, who was named acting head of Ukraine’s SBU state security service last July, is to be appointed its head.
“Law enforcement agencies at this stage should not be headed by politicians, but by cadre law enforcement officers,” Arakhmia said.
“The enemy is preparing to advance. We are preparing to defend ourselves and return what is ours,” he said, referring to Russian-occupied territory and recent reports that Russia’s invading forces are preparing a new offensive.
During a press conference on Sunday, Reznikov defended his record as minister, outlined steps taken to curb corruption and said the decision was up to the president.
“I’m on the team. . . I will do whatever is necessary for us to win.”
Lawyer-turned-politician Reznikov was made defense minister just a year ago. He led Kyiv’s successful efforts to acquire heavy weapons from the West, which proved crucial in repelling Russia’s faltering offensive.
But he has faced growing criticism in recent days from anti-corruption activists following a scandal at his ministry in which some of his subordinates have been arrested or charged by law enforcement.