Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for an end to the spreading of “rumors or other pseudo-information” that could undermine unity in the war against Russia. His remarks were intended to end speculation over the dismissal of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Zelenskyy underlined that only the president can take or announce such important decisions.
“I thank everyone who refrains from spreading any rumors or other pseudo-information that could weaken the focus of our people in their work for the victory of Ukraine. It is only by helping our country, not allowing the enemy to play with the emotions of our people, and doing everything possible for our warriors to have more weapons that we can ensure Ukraine’s success,” Zelenskyy said.
The rumors originated from the statement by David Arakhamia, a senior lawmaker and ally of the president, who said on Sunday that Reznikov would be replaced after a corruption scandal at the Defense Ministry. A day later, Arakhamia said there would be no personnel changes this week, appearing to row back after Zelenskiy kept silent on Reznikov’s future and other politicians publicly defended the minister’s record.
“We are taking personnel and institutional steps at various levels in the defense and security sector that can strengthen Ukraine’s position,” Zelenskyy wrote on the Telegram messaging app, citing his speech to parliament.
“The necessary information is provided as regards each such step, whether personnel or institutional – at the level where decisions are made,” he added, underlining that such decisions were the responsibility of only the president.
The questions over Reznikov made for the first public sign of a potentially serious disarray in Ukraine’s wartime leadership. The confusion followed a crackdown on alleged official wrongdoing as Zelenskyy seeks to show that Kyiv can be a safe steward of billions of dollars of Western aid.
Reznikov said earlier that he was “holding the line”, and showed no sign of stepping aside.
“Thank you all for your support, as well as constructive criticism. We draw conclusions. We continue the reforms. Even during the war. We are strengthening the defense and working for victory,” Reznikov wrote on Twitter.