As Ukrainian forces battle to hold off an intensifying Russian assault in the east, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov could soon be reassigned, which would make him the highest-ranking Ukrainian official to change jobs since Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Davyd Arakhamia, the leader of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, said on Sunday that Mr. Reznikov would be transferred to the leadership of another ministry. But the timing of such a move, or even whether it would take place, remained unclear. On Monday, Mr. Arakhamia said in a post on Telegram, the social messaging app, that “changes in the field of defense will not take place this week.”
Mr. Reznikov, a lawyer who has led the defense ministry since shortly before Russia’s invasion in February last year, said in a television interview late Sunday that he was surprised to learn that he might be transferred, and that he would refuse the new position because he did not have the expertise. Earlier on Sunday, he had told a news conference that only Mr. Zelensky could remove him from his post.
“No official remains in office forever. No one,” Mr. Reznikov said, adding: “I will do what the head of state suggests to me.”
Mr. Zelensky has not commented on the matter.
The fate of Mr. Reznikov has been the subject of increasing speculation amid a growing scandal involving accusations of financial impropriety in the defense ministry. Mr. Reznikov has not been directly implicated in any wrongdoing, and Mr. Arakhamia did not link the move to concerns about the corruption scandal, saying only that “time and circumstances call for strengthening and regrouping.”
Mr. Zelensky’s cabinet has remained remarkably intact throughout the nearly yearlong war. Last month, his minister of internal affairs, Denys Monastyrsky, was killed in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, the cause of which remains under investigation. Days later, amid growing scrutiny of potential financial impropriety among government officials, a top official in Mr. Zelensky’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, resigned after drawing criticism for his use of an S.U.V. donated by General Motors for humanitarian missions.
Mr. Reznikov has been a public face of Ukraine’s war effort, shuttling to foreign capitals to persuade allied defense officials to send more weapons. Rumors that he might lose his job started swirling in late January as Mr. Zelensky hinted at personnel changes in his government.