Ukraine removes deputy defence ministers after new minister's appointment

FILE PHOTO: Newly appointed Ukraine's Defence Minister Umerov meets Armed Forces commanders in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) -The Ukrainian government dismissed six deputy defence ministers on Monday following the appointment of a new defence minister earlier this month.

The government gave no reason for the dismissals, but such moves are common after a new minister's appointment. Those removed included Hanna Maliar, who frequently issues public updates on Russia's war on Ukraine.

Rustem Umerov became defence minister less than two weeks ago, replacing Oleksii Reznikov. The ministry had been dogged by media allegations of corruption while Reznikov was in the post although he faced no corruption allegations himself.

"Rebooting. We (have) started. We continue. (The) Ministry continues to work as usual," Umerov said in a Facebook post.

The Ukrainska Pravda news site quoted unnamed government sources as saying all the deputy ministers had resigned voluntarily following a request by Umerov and would not be returning to their posts.

It said consultations were under way on candidates to replace them, and quoted a source close to the ministry as saying "a complete overhaul is underway" at the ministry.

Umerov has said his priorities include making the ministry the main institution for coordinating Ukrainian defence forces, enhancing the value attached to individual soldiers, developing Ukraine's military industry and fighting corruption.

Maliar, a war crimes lawyer, had served as a deputy defence minister since 2021 and her latest update on the war in Ukraine appeared on Monday morning.

She faced criticism last week after initially reporting that Ukrainian forces had recaptured an eastern village from Russian forces, but later saying her report was inaccurate and that fighting was still raging around the village. Its capture was then announced by the military the next day, but Russia has since denied losing control of the village.

(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka, Editing by Timothy Heritage)