President Volodymyr Zelensky introduced Rustem Umerov as the new Minister of Defense, emphasizing the need for immediate changes in the ministry, focusing on anti-corruption measures and the morale and welfare of Ukrainian troops and their families.

The President said, “People are not consumables; their time and energy are the value of our state,” in remarks posted on his Telegram channel on Thursday, Sept. 7.

Zelensky said the Ministry of Defense has identified several key objectives for Umerov, including a reduction in bureaucratic procedures that consume the time and energy of soldiers.

“Anything that can be digitized should be digitized,” Zelensky said. “Any unnecessary bureaucracy should be eliminated. Anything that can save lives and protect the health of our soldiers must be identified and provided to our troops.”


In his post, Zelensky said that Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) possess extensive experience in successful defense – unparalleled worldwide.

He said, “Anything that contributes to such protection should be made accessible to every Ukrainian soldier, for the betterment of our nation and the security of our partners.”

“This encompasses various aspects, ranging from soldier training to the medical support provided to brigades, from combat assistance to communication with the families of our soldiers,” he said.

Zelensky stressed the need for a system of respectful, transparent, and timely communication with the families of soldiers, especially those who have lost their loved ones in defense of Ukraine.

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“All such families should feel that the memory of fallen soldiers is a value for our country, and for everyone in the defense system.”

A critical aspect of Umerov’s role, according to the President, is instilling trust in the ministry’s decisions.

“Society, and most importantly, the soldiers, should have confidence in the functioning of the entire defense sector, from commanders down to specific combat positions,” he said.


This trust should encompass all aspects, including procurement, supplies, and unit communications within the defense system.

Zelensky said he expects Umerov to expedite changes within the defense department, recognizing the urgency of the situation. “I don't believe we have much time,” he said.

“So, if you intend to initiate comprehensive reforms and implement specific measures, I advise you to act swiftly.”

Responding to the President’s call, Umerov articulated his commitment to these objectives, stating, “Every meter and every centimeter of our land will once again be under the Ukrainian flag...

“Our goal is victory, and we must do everything in our power to bring it closer as soon as possible,” Umerov said.

Umerov outlined the five priorities identified by Zelensky for the Ministry of Defense: emphasizing a soldier-centric approach, wherein the troops are of the highest value; fostering the ministry’s autonomy; strengthening and expanding international coalitions; maintaining zero tolerance for corruption and promoting digitalization; and developing Ukraine’s military-industrial complex.


Yesterday, Umerov assumed the official role of Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, a move endorsed overwhelmingly by the country’s parliament.

He vowed to do “everything possible and impossible for the victory of Ukraine.”

In a post on social media after his new position was confirmed by the Verkhovna Rada, Umerov defined victory as “when we liberate every centimeter of our country and every one of our people.”

This appointment, coming more than a year and a half into Russia’s full-scale invasion, signifies a notable transition for Ukraine and follows a series of corruption scandals within the defense ministry.

On Tuesday, the parliament voted to accept Oleksiy Reznikov's resignation as head of the Ministry of Defense, concurrently removing Rustem Umerov from his position as the head of the State Property Fund, acknowledging his nomination for the new role.

Rustem Umerov, born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on April 19, 1982, hails from a family originally from Alushta, Crimea. In September 2019, he was elected as a People's Deputy, representing the Voice party.

During his tenure in the parliament, Umerov spearheaded the Temporary Special Commission responsible for overseeing the receipt and allocation of international material and technical assistance.


In September of last year, he assumed the leadership of the State Property Fund, a post he held until being selected to be the Defense Minister.

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Comments (2)
Mr Pibb
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The former defense minister has been shamed by his dismissal for corruption and therefore has zero worldwide credibility. He is actually doing Ukraine a disservice by making public comments. The corruption he has stood over has cost many many UA soldiers' lives. He should now be prosecuted for treason - making exceptions also hurts Ukraine in many ways.
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Its critical to address safe removal of wounded soldiers within the first hour of being hit.
Rapidly increasing the numbers, and equal distribution of armored mine resistant cross country vehicles assigned to medic-vac duties will greatly reduce fatalities, increase morale and rate of return of valuable experience to the battlefield.