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Ukraine Shuffles Defense Minister Amid Black Sea Grain Deal Tensions

Monday, September 4, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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The newly-appointed Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has named Rustem Umerov as the Minister for Defense. This comes after Oleksii Reznikov's 550-day tenure in a full-scale war, with Zelenskyy noting that fresh leadership and new approaches are needed at the ministry and that he expected parliamentary support for Umerov's appointment.

Rustem Umerov is the head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine. He is an opposition Holos Party politician who was named to his position last September. Mr. Umerov helped negotiate prisoner exchanges, mediated talks between Russia and Ukraine on a UN-backed grain deal, and organized evacuation flights for civilians trapped in occupied territories.

The latest appointment comes after allegations of inflated prices and purchase order discrepancies involving military jackets produced by Ukrainian firms backed by the defence ministry were made against Reznikov, who denied them.

The announcement came while Russian forces were in the midst of a drone assault on Ukraine’s Reni seaport, in the Odesa region. Lukyanov said 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones went over the Danube, and Ukrainian air defences brought down 22 of them.

The attack came before what promises to be a tense meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the resumption of food shipments from Ukraine under a Black Sea grain agreement.

The attack was seen as part of Russia's effort to provoke a world food crisis and hunger, according to Andriy Yermak, President Zelensky’s chief of staff.

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