Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed all six deputy defense ministers and the State Secretary of the Defense Ministry on Sunday, September 17, just weeks after he removed Oleksiy Reznikov as Defense Minister and nominated Rustam Umerov in his place. Did.
Ukraine’s Cabinet envoy to parliament, Taras Melnychuk, announced that Zelensky fired Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar, Volodymyr Havrilov, Rostislav Zemlyansky, Denis Sharapov, Andrey Shevchenko, Vitaly Deneha, and the ministry’s State Secretary, Kostyantin Vashchenko. The government retained First Deputy Defense Minister Oleksandr Pavlyuk.
The Office of the President of Ukraine did not give any reason for the officers’ dismissal. The dismissal of top defense officials in Ukraine comes during a critical time as the Ukrainian military moves to retaliate in the eastern Donbass region.
‘Systematically spread Kremlin false stories’
In a Telegram post on September 6, People’s Deputy Oleksiy Goncharenko announced that at least three deputy defense ministers in Ukraine – Volodymyr Gavrilov, Vitaly Deinega and Andrey Shevchenko – had submitted their resignations even before Umerov’s appointment.
Meanwhile, following the findings of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General’s Office, People’s Deputy Nestor Shufrich was charged with high treason. Reports suggest that Shufrich has been accused of “anti-Ukrainian activities” such as “destroying the information space”. He collaborated with a Moscow agent found to be responsible for “coordination of Russian assets in Ukraine” named Volodymyr Sivkovich. In Ukraine, there was a provision of 15 years’ imprisonment for the crime of treason.
“Shufrich’s main task was to destroy the information space,” according to a security service statement cited by Britain-based outlet Sky News.
“They systematically spread Kremlin falsehoods that the Ukrainian state is ‘an artificial entity,’ that Ukraine and Russia ‘have one history,’ and that Ukrainians and Russians are ‘one people,'” it said.
Speaking on a television show with Sky News, former British intelligence officer Philip Ingram said, “No official reason was given for Reznikov’s replacement beyond the need for a new approach in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.” He further stated that “there were rumors that this was being linked to a broader approach to rooting out corrupt practices in the Ukrainian government.”
“Removing Maliyar and other ministers is not unusual,” Ingram insisted.
Ukrainian Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers Oleh Nemchynov said that Ukraine’s law on executive bodies requires the removal of subordinate ministers upon the dismissal of a minister. The Ukrainian press reported, “All the ministers resigned voluntarily, and their ‘dismissal’ was merely the required ratification by the Ukrainian cabinet.” It is also understood that new Defense Minister Umerov “is not going to offer jobs to any of the old ministers and wants a completely new team.”