The changes in the cabinet are forced by the probable intensification of the Russian offensive and the cases of corruption
The Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, believed that after the recent cases of corruption detected and given the expected intensification of the Russian offensive, he would have to undertake a remodeling within the area of Government Security. It took place this Monday and first affected Defense Minister Oleksii Réznikov, whose dismissal had been discussed after the dismissals last month of several of his collaborators.
The person in charge of breaking the news was the head of the parliamentary faction of Zelenski’s party, Servant of the People, David Arajamía, who pointed out that the war dictates “the policy of cadres -within the Government-, and time and circumstances demand strengthening and regrouping. This is happening now and it will happen in the future.” In his words, “Reznikov will be transferred to the Ministry of Strategic Industries to strengthen military-industrial cooperation” with Western countries. «The departments of power at this stage should not be headed by politicians, but by career officials in the field of security. The enemy prepares to attack and we prepare to defend ourselves and recover what is ours.
According to the spokesman for the presidential and majority party in the Rada (Parliament), Reznikov will be replaced by General Kirilo Budanov, until now head of the Central Intelligence Directorate (GUR). The head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) would go to the hands of Vasili Maliuk and the Ministry of Interior would have Igor Klimenko as its new head. This Monday, however, Arajamía declared through his Telegram channel that the remodeling announced by himself will not be imminent. “This week there will be no changes in Defense,” he said.
“Will be an error”
But Reznikov, in an interview with Fakti ICTV, has said that neither the president nor the prime minister had offered him to head the Ministry of Strategic Industries, further stressing that “if I suddenly received such an offer (…) I would reject it”, because it lacks of the experience that allows him «to be a quality head of that ministry. Will be an error”. In his opinion, he has “no reason to be ashamed of anything” during his time at the Ministry of Defense. The current Minister of Strategic Industries is Pavlo Riabikin, who also knows nothing about his dismissal.
This new outbreak of crisis occurs when, according to Zelensky, the situation at the front is very “difficult.” He has warned that “many reports indicate that the occupiers want to do something symbolic in February to try to avenge their defeats last year. We feel that increasing pressure in different areas of the front line.” He referred in particular to “fierce fighting” in the Donbas region.
Both sides confirm the existence of “fierce” clashes in Bakhmut. The head of the Wagner mercenaries, Evgueni Prigozhin, whose battalions have been fighting in the area for months, has acknowledged that the Ukrainian Army is resisting and is not withdrawing. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, reported Monday that Moscow troops have managed to take the town of Nikolayevka, in the Donetsk region.