/ 05 September 2023

Ukraine shakes it up

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty


Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov has been dismissed from his post amid investigations into corruption alleged to have taken place on his watch. Reznikov himself hasn’t been implicated, but Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said it was time for “new approaches” in the critical portfolio. Stepping up is Rustem Umerov – he’s from a different political party to Zelensky but has played a big role in negotiating Ukraine’s wartime grain exports. He’s also from a Crimean ethnic group that’s been persecuted under Russia’s occupation since 2014. Experts note that “new approaches” to Ukraine’s Defence Ministry don’t mean a new military strategy – Ukraine’s battlefield planning is still overseen by the commander General Valery Zaluzhny.


Analysts say Reznikov has been a crucial player in Ukraine’s efforts to fight off Russia. At the beginning of the invasion, he was one of just a few officials who remained in Kyiv, and since then, he’s been on the diplomatic frontlines lobbying for weapons from Ukraine’s Western allies. But Zelensky was elected to lead Ukraine on an anti-corruption platform, and Reznikov has been smeared by association with domestic corruption scandals around overpriced winter jackets and suspiciously expensive eggs. But he won’t disappear from service – after more than 550 days as a wartime Defence Minister, Reznikov is expected to become the nation’s ambassador to London.


Ukraine’s army is reported to have broken through Russia’s southern defences as their slow-moving counteroffensive continues… The hope is that their second and third defensive lines were more hastily built and, therefore, more easily broken. Keeping close tabs on developments will be G20 leaders, who are meeting this weekend in New Delhi to discuss the world economy, which continues to be affected by the war in Ukraine. At the last 2 summits, the push by Western nations to condemn Russia’s invasion has caused schisms in the G20, which includes Russia and China. Chinese President Xi Jinping has hinted he won’t be attending this year’s G20, which points to another divided meeting. Yesterday, US President Joe Biden said he was “disappointed” that Xi wouldn’t be there but that they would get together in future.

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