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Ukraine defence minister says he hands in resignation letter

KYIV — Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced on Monday he had handed his resignation letter to parliament after President Volodymyr Zelensky called for "new approaches" to face Russia's invasion.

Zelensky's decision to remove Reznikov comes after corruption scandals rocked the defence ministry.

The Ukrainian leader had also recently dismissed senior military recruitment officials across the country.

Many Kyiv residents welcomed the decision.

"If something goes wrong, you have to fix and rebuild and change quickly," said artist Maria Shkuro.

"He should have resigned himself, rather than wait until he was dismissed," she said, speaking to AFP near a display of Russian war trophies in central Kyiv.

Reznikov persuaded Western allies to supply Ukraine with Western-made weaponry including advanced air defence systems, tanks and US fighter jets.

"All the good things he has done are instantly reversed by one bad deed," pensioner Anatoly Kifa said.

"At a time like this, in such positions, one cannot allow the crimes I have read about," the 70-year-old added.

Not a 'villain' 

Maksym Chumak, a 32-year-old serviceman on leave, did not blame Reznikov alone for the defence ministry's alleged misdoings.

"There are claims... about mistakes he made in deliveries and purchases," Chumak said.

But he added: "There is no person who does not make mistakes, and I do not think that he is a villain."

Reznikov was appointed three months before Russia's invasion and became one of the best-known faces of the country's war efforts.

"It was an honour to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the [Ukrainian army] for the last 22 months, the toughest period of Ukraine's modern history," he said in his resignation letter.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against Russian forces in June after building up Western-supplied weapons, a drive to which Reznikov was seen as being central. Progress has been limited.

Zelensky nominated Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar who has been head of the State Property Fund since last year, to replace Reznikov — subject to approval by Ukraine's parliament.