Oleksii Reznikov will resign from his post of the Defence Minister of Ukraine to the position of ambassador to the United Kingdom, said People’s Deputy Yaroslav Zhelezniak in his Telegram channel, citing his sources in embassies. He added that this will only happen if no more scandals appear around Reznikov. 

“How accurate is this [information]? Well, current stuffing politics can surprise, but the embassies warned about such a rotation yesterday morning. About the dates: that would [happen] the next week, in the first week of September,” commented Zhelezniak. 

According to Zhelezniak, Rieznikov knew about this [upcoming] resignation before the scandal concerning jackets for the military. 

The jackets case 

The Ministry of Defense’s procurement of 180 thousand jackets for the Ukrainian army from a Turkish company for a full prepayment of $30 million became a topic for press investigation. 

Dzerkalo tyzhnya [“Mirror of the week” – t/n] published a material that accused the Ministry of Defence of fraud related to jacket prices and quality. In particular, journalists claimed that the jackets procured weren’t winter jackets, as was specified in the contract, but summer jackets – or jackets of very poor quality. (They made this conclusion by comparing the price of jackets specified in this contract to the commercial information from other records of winter jacket purchases.) They also analyzed commercial records and pinpointed a difference between the price at which the jackets were supposed to be procured and the price the Ministry paid. They’ve concluded that the owner of a supplier Turkish company, Ukrainian Roman Plietniov, has collected the difference in money. 

The Public Anti-corruption Council under the Ministry of Defence checked the jackets. The check confirmed that the jackets are fit for winter, comply with required quality standards, and can be provided to the AFU. It occurred, however, that the reliability of a supplier hadn’t been verified before the MoD signed a procurement deal. 

This case caused the press and activists to accuse the Minister of Defence of corruption. Reznikov denied all accusations and proposed to make a bet: if the jackets the Ministry procured will, during the investigation, be found to be summer jackets, he will resign; if it is revealed that the Ministry has bought winter jackets (as it was supposed to), then the head of the Anti-corruption committee Anastasiia Radina will resign, and journalist Myhailo Tkach will stop working as a journalist for three years. They didn’t accept the bet. 

Public Anti-corruption Council’s research confirms that the jackets have a fitting quality and are suitable for the intended purpose. Still, the investigation into possible financial misunderstandings and conflicts of interest within the group that organized the procurement is ongoing. 

New minister 

According to Zhelezniak, the current head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, Ruslan Umierov, will be the Minister of Defence after Reznikov’s resignation. 

Ruslan Umierov / Photo: Forbes

Ruslan Umierov is a politician and entrepreneur. In 2019-2022 years, he was a people’s deputy of Ukraine from the Holos party. Since September 2022, he has been the head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine. He’s also a Delegate of the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People and an advisor to a people’s deputy, and one of the Crimean Tatar national liberation movement leaders, Mustafa Jemilev. 

Earlier, Ruslan Umierov worked as a deputy head of delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Also, he drafted a bill to abolish the Crimea free trade zone.

Umierov created the ASTEM Foundation in 2013. The fund sponsors the Stanford University Ukrainian Emerging Leaders program. It was created to help Ukrainian politicians, jurists, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders. 

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