This is the second major shake-up in Ukraine’s defence leadership since defence minister Oleksii Reznikov was forced to resign and replaced with Rustem Umerov two weeks ago.
Deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar, who frequently issued public updates on Russia’s war against Ukraine, was among the six sacked on Monday. The state secretary for defence was sacked as well.
The government gave no reason for the fresh round of dismissals in its core team managing the Russian offensive. But it comes as Ukraine launched a major counteroffensive against Vladimir Putin’s forces, slowly gaining territory in the south and the east.
The news also comes amid the country announcing a joint intelligence operation in Crimea, that was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014, as explosions struck Sevastopol and smoke was seen rising from a prominent landmark near there.
The ministry has also been dogged by media allegations of widespread corruption while Mr Reznikov led the defence ministry, a topic that remained a major concern for allies who poured weapons and cash into Ukraine to incapacitate Russian forces and stabilise its war-ravaged economy.
“Rebooting. We (have) started. We continue. (The) Ministry continues to work as usual,” Mr Umerov, the new defence minister, said in a Facebook post.
Taking up the role earlier this month, Mr Umerov said his priorities include making the ministry the main institution for the coordination of defence forces, enhancing the value attached to individual soldiers, developing Ukraine’s military industry and fighting corruption.
Ukraine recently claimed fresh success in its counteroffensive with the recapturing of village Klishchiivka – a liberation area considered tactically important that will allow its forces to further extend their gains around Bakhmut that came under Russian control and was subject to several brutalities during the war.
The latest military gain was followed by the retaking of the nearby village of Andriivka.
“The enemy is trying with all his might to regain lost positions,” Ms Maliar had said in a briefing Monday before she was fired. “Therefore, our fighters hold back the enemy’s attacks there and are entrenched at the achieved frontiers.”
Ms Maliar, a war crimes lawyer, served as a deputy defence minister since 2021.
She, however, faced criticism last week after she prematurely announced Ukrainian forces had recaptured Andriivka from Russian forces and later had to say the information was inaccurate.
Shortly after, an official announcement had emerged from Ukraine confirming it had captured the village.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is set to attend the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly that opened on Monday. It will be the first time Mr Zelensky will attend it in person after previously being present via video conference.
The meeting is expected to have the unique spectacle of Mr Zelensky and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the same room for the first time since the invasion began.
Source : Independent