Who Is Rustem Umerov, Zelensky’s Nominee for Ukraine’s Defense Minister?

Who Is Rustem Umerov, Zelensky’s Nominee for Ukraine’s Protection Minister?

President Volodymyr Zelensky named Rustem Umerov as his option to be Ukraine’s subsequent protection minister, choosing a distinguished member of the Crimean Tatar ethnic group who has performed a key function in negotiations with Russia because the begin of the warfare.

In asserting his resolution on Sunday, Mr. Zelensky was transient. “Mr. Umerov,” he mentioned, “doesn’t want any extra introductions.”

Although a member of an opposition political occasion, Mr. Umerov, 41, has taken on a number of essential roles for the federal government because the Russian invasion final 12 months. He was the chief Ukrainian negotiator of an settlement that allowed Ukraine to export a few of its grain, and a distinguished negotiator on prisoner exchanges.

A former funding banker, Mr. Umerov is a lawmaker with the Holos occasion, which is in opposition to Mr. Zelensky’s Servant of the Individuals occasion. He served as a key consultant for Ukraine in peace talks with Russian diplomats within the early months of the warfare, and was considered one of a number of individuals, together with the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who reportedly suffered signs related to poisoning simply earlier than negotiations in Istanbul in March final 12 months.

Russia has persecuted the Crimean Tatars, who’re predominantly Muslim, because it illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, concentrating on them for arrests, Ukrainian authorities say. Lots of their leaders have fled to territory managed by Ukraine.

Mr. Umerov has been clear that he’s aligned with Mr. Zelensky on refusing to cede any Ukrainian territory to Russia. The Donbas area in jap Ukraine and Crimea are “our pink strains,” he instructed the Turkish state information company Anadolu final 12 months, including, “We won’t surrender our individuals or our land.”

For the previous 12 months, Mr. Umerov has been the chairman of Ukraine’s State Property Fund, which is accountable for privatizating state property. Within the first half of 2023, the fund reported its largest proceeds in 10 years, bringing in $49 million by auctioning off state property, together with the Ust-Dunaisk seaport within the Odesa area.

Widespread privatization in Ukraine, he instructed Reuters, would “be the final nail in Communism’s coffin.”

Valerie Hopkins contributed reporting.

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