Kyiv, Sep 6 (EFE).- The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of Rustem Umerov as the country’s new defense minister.
The former head of the country’s State Property Fund was put forward for the post on Monday by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The appointment of Umerov, who in 2019 was elected to parliament as a member of the centrist opposition party Golos, was backed by 338 deputies out of 360, according to a Telegram post by MP Yaroslav Zhelezniak.
Umerov, 41, replaces former lawyer Oleksii Reznikov, 57, who led the ministry since before Russia invaded the country in February last year.
In dismissing Reznikov, Zelenskyy said the former defense boss had “gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war. I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large.”
During his time in office, Reznikov helped secure billions of dollars in Western military aid for Ukrainian forces and built strong rapport with allied defense ministers, but was dogged by accusations of his ministry’s involvement in procurement corruption, which he has denied.
Umerov is a Crimean Tatar and the first Muslim defense minister in the history of Ukraine. Analysts have speculated his appointment shows there will be no compromise on Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Throughout his career as a public official and in the private sector,s the new defense chief has collaborated intensely with the government and Turkish companies. EFE