The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dismissed all the country’s deputy defense ministers – including Hanna Maliar – during a meeting on Monday, Sept. 18.

Taras Melnychuk, the government's representative in the Verkhovna Rada, confirmed that this decision affected six deputy heads of the Ministry of Defense and the state secretary of the ministry.

Who exactly was fired?

The government dismissed:

  • Volodymyr Gavrylov – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine
  • Rostyslav Zamlynsky – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine
  • Hanna Maliar – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine
  • Denis Sharapov – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine
  • Andriy Shevchenko – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine for European Integration
  • Vitaly Deinega – Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine for Digital Development, Digital Transformations, and Digitalization

"The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine also dismissed Vashchenko Kostyantyn Oleksandrovych from the post of State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine," Melnychuk wrote on his Telegram channel.

Why did the dismissals take place?

It is important to note that these dismissals are a standard procedure that occurs whenever the head of the ministry changes. Subsequently, the government either reassigns the dismissed deputy ministers or appoints new ones.

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The former head of the ministry, Oleksiy Reznikov, was recently replaced by Rustem Umerov, triggering the latest development.

On Sept. 6, People's Deputy Oleksiy Goncharenko reported via Telegram that three deputy ministers of defense had submitted their resignations even before the appointment of Umerov.

According to Goncharenko, statements were submitted by Volodymyr Gavrylov, Vitaly Deinega, and Andriy Shevchenko. However, Deinega denied his resignation and announced that he would cooperate with the new minister.

"The new minister and I will resolve our differences, and then I will provide a comprehensive update. I believe that we both have expectations from each other, and it will take time for us to align our strategies," Deinega noted on Facebook.

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But adding to the intrigue, Ukraiinska Pravda reported on Monday lunchtime that all deputies have written applications for resignation voluntarily after the request of Umerov and will not return to these positions.

A source close to the Ministry of Defense said “a complete update is underway.”

Umerov's reaction

In his Facebook post, Minister of Defense Umerov, said: "Reboot. We've started. We're working as usual. The rest of the news – later. Right now, the focus is on Ramstein."

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Kyiv Post also inquired about the possibility of reappointing any of the dismissed ministers to which the press secretary of Umyerov responded: "There will be news on this matter later." 

Zelensky calls for immediate changes in the Ministry of Defense from Umerov 

On Sept. 5, the Verkhovna Rada voted to accept Reznikov's resignation as the head of the Ministry of Defense, concurrently removing Rustem Umerov from his position as the head of the State Property Fund.

On Sept. 6, Umerov assumed the official role of Ukraine's Minister of Defense, a move overwhelmingly endorsed by the country's parliament.

He pledged to do "everything possible and impossible for the victory of Ukraine." Umerov defined victory as "when we liberate every centimeter of our country and every one of our people." 

This appointment, occurring more than a year and a half into Russia's full-scale invasion, marks a significant transition for Ukraine and follows a series of corruption scandals within the defense ministry.

When introducing Umerov as the new Minister of Defense, President Zelensky emphasized the immediate need for changes within the ministry, with a focus on anti-corruption measures and the well-being of Ukrainian troops and their families. 

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The President said: "People are not expendable; their time and energy are valuable to our state." Zelensky emphasized that 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."

The recent controversy surrounding Hanna Maliar

Last week, on Sept. 14, Maliar disseminated false information regarding the liberation of Andriivka by Ukrainian defenders in the direction of Bakhmut. However, she explained that the misinformation stemmed from a breakdown in communication among several information sources.

"I do not publish such information without coordination and agreement with the military. Currently, there is a communication breakdown among several information sources reporting directly from the scene."

However, on the very next day, Sept. 15, the General Staff of the Armed Forces confirmed that the Ukrainian defense forces had indeed liberated Andriivka.

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