Ukraine’s parliament on Wednesday approved President Volodymyr Zelensky’s nomination of Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar, as Kyiv’s new defence minister after the resignation of Oleksiy Reznikov.
The 41-year-old’s appointment marks a significant change for Kyiv’s military establishment a year and a half into Russia’s invasion.
“Parliament approved Rustem Umerov as the Defence Minister of Ukraine,” senior lawmaker Yaroslav Zheleznyak said on social media.
He posted a photograph of the voting board, showing 338 out of 360 lawmakers voted in favour of Umerov’s nomination
Zelensky nominated Umerov for the role calling for “new approaches” in Ukraine’s defence ministry.
Umerov replaces Reznikov, who held the role throughout Moscow’s invasion.
A former businessman, Umerov has taken part in prisoner exchange negotiations and grain deal talks.
He is active in the Tatar Muslim community of Crimea, annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.
“It is the highest state post ever held by a Tatar (from Crimea),” Sergiy Leshchenko, an advisor to the presidential administration, told AFP.
The Tatar community of Crimea has largely been against Russia’s annexation of the peninsula.