Ukraine’s defense minister on his possible move to industry portfolio: «I would refuse».

Archivo – Oleksi Reznikov, ministro de Defensa de Ucrania – MYKOLA TYS / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksi Reznikov said Sunday that he would refuse to head the Ministry of Strategic Industries if the government offered it to him as a measure following a corruption scandal in the portfolio he currently heads over the purchase of military rations.

«If I suddenly received such an offer from the president of Ukraine or the prime minister, I would refuse it because I don’t have the experience that would allow me to be the minister of the Ministry of Strategic Industries. So I think it is a mistake,» he said in an interview for the Ukrainian TV channel ICTV, as picked up by local media.

Reznikov also reiterated that he would only resign if the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, asked him to do so, although the president has not made him such an offer for the time being.

«I repeat once again that the decision to resign from the Ministry of Defense or Foreign Ministry can be made only by the president in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine,» he said, while stressing that «it is the first time» he heard about the offer to move to the Ministry of Industry.

Thus, he stressed that it is «news»: «I can say that this is news for me. I did not have any talks about the Ministry of Strategic Industry with the President of Ukraine, the Commander-in-Chief,» he said.

Several official sources have told Ukrainian media in recent days that Zelensky could announce Reznikov’s replacement next week, but there has been no official announcement so far. He would be replaced by the head of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence Agency Kirilo Budanov.

Zelenski described as «necessary» the wave of dismissals. «All internal issues hindering the state are being eliminated and will continue to be eliminated. It is fair, it is necessary for our defense, and it helps our rapprochement with European institutions,» he said.

Ukraine has in the past been the scene of numerous corruption cases and Transparency International ranked it 122nd out of 180 in 2021 in its corruption perception survey. The fight against such crimes is also one of the key demands of the European Union (EU) in the framework of the process for its possible accession to the bloc, something firmly rejected by Russia.