MOSCOW, Sep 5 Changes in the leadership of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense are necessary to “improve communication on sensitive topics within society and reset trust,” writes the Financial Times, citing Serhiy Leshchenko, an adviser to the head of Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, who commented on the resignation of Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.
Zelensky earlier announced Reznikov's resignation from the post of Defense Minister and the appointment of the head of the State Property Fund Rustem Umerov to his post.
“Leshchenko… said a change in leadership is needed to 'improve communication on sensitive topics within society' and reset 'trust',” the newspaper writes.
According to the Financial Times, an adviser to the head of Zelensky's office also pointed to Umerov's Crimean Tatar ethnicity as Russia's “uncompromising signal” about Kiev's intentions on the Crimean issue.
As the newspaper notes, citing sources, Umerov has established close ties with the leadership of Turkey, the countries of the Middle East and a number of Western states. The Financial Times adds that Zelensky's team hopes the new defense minister can use his skills to improve departmental governance and increase transparency in procurement.
Crimea became a Russian region in March 2014 following a referendum following a coup in Ukraine. In the referendum, 96.77% of voters in Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol voted for joining Russia. Ukraine still considers Crimea its temporarily occupied territory, many Western countries support Kyiv on this issue. For its part, the Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that the inhabitants of Crimea voted for democratic reunification with Russia, in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the issue of Crimea “is finally closed.”