Ukraine’s Zelensky welcomes new appointments after confusion over defence minister

An ally of President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) had earlier said that Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov would be replaced. PHOTOS: EPA-EFE,REUTERS

KYIV - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked parliament on Tuesday for approving his proposed candidates for Cabinet jobs, and called for an end to “rumours or any other pseudo-information” that could undermine unity in the war against Russia.

His remarks on rumours, in an address to parliament, appeared intended to end public speculation over whether Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov will be removed, and underline that only the president can take and announce such decisions.

In his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky said parliament had endorsed the head of the SBU security service, Mr Vasyl Malyuk, and the interior minister, Mr Ihor Klymenko.

Both appointees had previously performed the jobs in an acting capacity.

Mr Zelensky specifically thanked deputies for “confirming, on my submission”, the SBU head.

“Now we have people who have acquired experience of such a war,” Mr Zelensky said.

“Such people have to be more present in positions at various levels in central and local administration.”

There had been uncertainty over Mr Reznikov’s future after Mr David Arakhamia, a senior lawmaker and ally of the president, said on Sunday that Mr Reznikov would be replaced after a corruption scandal at the ministry.

A day later, Mr Arakhamia said there would be no personnel changes this week, appearing to row back after Mr Zelensky kept silent on Mr Reznikov’s future and other politicians publicly defended the minister’s record.

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Writing earlier on the Telegram messaging app, Mr Zelensky made no direct reference to the incident.

“We are taking personnel and institutional steps at various levels in the defence and security sector that can strengthen Ukraine’s position,” Mr Zelensky said, 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 said, underlining that such decisions were the responsibility of only the president.

Mr Zelensky offered thanks to all who help preserve the unity of Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia nearly 12 months ago.

“I thank everyone who refrains from spreading any rumours or other pseudo-information that could weaken the focus of our people in their work for the victory of Ukraine,” he said.

“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. And we will!” REUTERS

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