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Ukraine defence minister dismissed as Zelensky says it’s time for ‘new approach’

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov arriving for a news conference in Kyiv on October 26, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov arriving for a news conference in Kyiv on October 26, 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine’s defence minister has been dismissed with presidentVolodymyr Zelensky saying it is time for “new approaches”.

Oleksii Reznikov has led the ministry since before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022 but will soon be replaced by Rustem Umerov, who runs the state property fund. The reshuffle had been expected with Mr Reznikov last week telling reporters that he was exploring other positions with the Ukrainian president.

It comes as Ukrainian generals claim to have punched through a key line of Russian defences in the south of the country. “We are now between the first and second defensive lines,” one of the country’s top generals in the south, Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, told The Observer.

Ukraine’s counter-offensive in recent weeks has been focused an expanding the bridgehead around the village of Robotyne, which is about 35 miles south-east of the city of Zaporizhzhia.

Russia also reported several attempted drone attacks on its territory last night. The claimed battlefield successes have not been enough to keep Mr Reznikov in post. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he confirmed that he had submitted his resignation letter to the country’s parliament. “It was an honour to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the #UAarmy for the last 22 months, the toughest period of Ukraine’s modern history,” he wrote.

Ukrainian media has speculated that he will become Kyiv’s new ambassador in London, where he has developed strong relations with senior politicians. His replacement Mr Umerov, who was nominated by the president, represented Ukraine in peace talks at the beginning of the invasion.

Cyber attackers linked to Russia’s intelligence agency were reported to be targeting the Android phones of Ukrainian soldiers with a “malware campaign” to steal secrets.