Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that Defense Minister Oleksii Riznikov will be replaced this week by Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustam Umarov.
Zelensky wrote on his official Telegram account announcing that Reznikov needed new leadership after “more than 550 days of total war”.
Later in his nightly address, Zielinski said he believed “the ministry needs new methods and different formats of communication with the military and society.”
“The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is well acquainted with this person, and Umarov needs no additional introduction. I expect the parliament to support this candidacy,” the president told the nation.
Umarov, 41, a politician from the opposition Holos party, has served as head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund since September 2022. He was involved in the evacuation as well as the exchange of prisoners of war, political prisoners, children and civilians. Umierov, a citizen of the occupied territories, was also part of the Ukrainian delegation to the negotiations on a UN-backed grain deal with Russia.
In August, a scandal emerged about the Ministry of Defense’s purchase of military jackets. Investigative journalists from Ukraine reported that the material was purchased at three times the usual price and that summer jackets were ordered instead of winter jackets. The cost of the jackets in the customs documents from the supplier was $29 per unit, but the Ministry of Defense paid $86 per unit. Reznikov denied the allegations during a news conference last week.
Zelensky’s announcement came after two people were hospitalized after a 3 1/2-hour Russian drone barrage on a port in Ukraine’s Odessa region on Sunday, officials said.
The attack on the port of Rennes comes a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss resuming food shipments from Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Agreement. which Moscow broke up in July.
Russian forces fired 25 Iranian-made Shahid drones along the Danube River on Sunday morning, 22 of which were shot down by air defenses, Ukraine’s air force said on Telegram.
Zelenskyi’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, called the attack part of a Russian campaign “to provoke a food crisis and hunger in the world.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that the attack was aimed at targeting fuel storage facilities that are used to supply military equipment.
A long-awaited meeting between Putin and Erdogan is scheduled for Monday in Sochi, on Russia’s southwest coast.
Turkish officials have confirmed the pair will discuss renewing the Black Sea grain initiative, which the Kremlin pulled six weeks ago.
The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022, allowed some 33 million metric tons (36 million tonnes) of grain and other goods to safely leave three Ukrainian ports despite Russia’s war.
However, Russia withdrew from the agreement after claiming that a parallel agreement promising to remove barriers to Russian exports of food and fertilizer was not fulfilled.
Moscow complained that restrictions on shipping and insurance affected its agricultural trade, although it has shipped record amounts of wheat since last year.
The Sochi summit follows talks between the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey on Thursday, during which Russia handed over a list of steps the West must take to resume Black Sea exports to Ukraine. .
Erdogan has expressed sympathy with Putin’s position. In July, he said Putin had “certain expectations from Western countries” on the Black Sea deal and that it was “very important for these countries to take action in this regard.”
Elsewhere in Ukraine, three people were killed in two separate Russian shelling attacks in the Donetsk region on Sunday. Ukraine’s prosecutors’ office reported that an 85-year-old man was among those killed by the rubble of his own home.
A 36-year-old man was also killed in another Russian attack in Ukraine’s Kherson region.
Ukrainian prosecutors announced on Sunday that they had opened a war crimes investigation into the death of a police officer killed by Russian shelling in the town of Seredina-Buda on Saturday afternoon.
Two other police officers and a civilian were injured in the attack, which targeted the northeastern Ukrainian region of Somy.