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On February 5, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov held a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov holds a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 5. (Oleksii Chumachenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov was asked to comment on rumors that he may be replaced.

“No official will stay forever. Not a single one. So people should always be ready to end this phase,” Reznikov told reporters in Kyiv on Sunday.

“The decision to serve or not to serve as defense minister was made by one person – Supreme Commander-in-Chief and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky,” Reznikov said.

“Therefore, I will only make certain decisions based on the decisions of the Ukrainian president. Then, again, I will do what the Ukrainian president gave me, and I will do everything for our victory,” he added.

The formal process for replacing Ukraine’s defense minister requires Zelensky to first ask parliament to remove the minister. Ukrainian lawmakers then voted on the proposal. After that, Zelensky will propose a new defense minister, and lawmakers will also need to vote for it. This could happen in the next few days.

On Wednesday, officials from Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) said they had accused the former defense ministry procurement chief of embezzling public funds in the purchase of thousands of substandard protective vests.

The official spent the equivalent of $2.7 million on nearly 3,000 “bulletproof vests” for the Ukrainian armed forces, which were later found not to “properly protect Ukrainian soldiers.”

The SBU said the officer was charged with “embezzlement, embezzlement or confiscation of property through abuse of office”, obstructing the armed forces and “committing a criminal offense by a group of persons”.

The SBU said the individual faced five to eight years in prison and recalled the substandard body armor.

“Additionally, the SBU is conducting investigations into other officials of the security and defense agencies who may be involved in illegal activities endangering national security. This is a set of measures designed to strengthen our national defense capabilities,” the SBU said at the time.

The charges come after Zelensky fired a series of senior Ukrainian officials since late January amid a growing corruption scandal related to the procurement of wartime supplies, the largest in his administration since the Russian invasion began. reorganization.

CNN’s Yulia Kesaieva, Mick Krever and Jack Guy contributed reporting.

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