Ukraine’s departing defense minister has stated that the country is bracing for a fresh Russian onslaught later this month.
Oleksiy Reznikov, speaking at a press conference, stated that while not all Western armament would have arrived by then, Ukraine would have enough reserves to stave off Russian soldiers.
President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that forces were engaged in severe battle in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, and Lyman.
Mr Reznikov’s remarks came just hours before it was revealed that he would be ousted as Defense Minister.
According to a Ukrainian MP from Mr Zelensky’s party, military intelligence head Kyrylo Budanov will take his post.
The reorganization comes after a slew of corruption scandals at the defense ministry.
Mr Reznikov has disputed media accusations that some defense officials are accused of stealing public monies for army food purchases.
Ukrainian politician David Arakhamia announced the move on Sunday, adding that “war drives personnel practices”. Mr Reznikov, a well-known figure in Ukraine’s quest to procure Western weaponry, will now be appointed minister of strategic industries.
President Zelensky has already sacked a number of top officials as part of a wide anti-corruption push across his government.
Mr Reznikov previously stated that Russia does not have all of its resources ready to begin an attack, but may do so as a symbolic gesture on the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion on February 24.
He predicted that Russia will prioritize capturing the whole eastern Donbas as well as beginning offensives in Ukraine’s south.
Mr. Reznikov made similar remarks on French television earlier this month.
The defense minister also stated that troops would begin training on Leopard tanks built in Germany on Monday.
Mr Reznikov stated that Ukraine has obtained new long-range missiles with a range of 90 miles (150 kilometers), but that they would only be used against Russian soldiers in occupied parts of Ukraine.
“I am confident that we will win this battle,” Mr Reznikov said, adding that “it would cost us more deaths” if Western fighter planes are not delivered.