Who is Rustem Umerov, Ukraine’s new defense minister?

Rustem Umerov, head of the country’s main privatization fund, attends a meeting at the presidential office, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in Ukraine, November 16, 2022. Get license rights

KYIV, Sept 4 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelensky has nominated Rustem Umerov, head of Ukraine’s main privatization agency, to serve as the country’s wartime defense minister. Parliament must approve Umero’s nomination before he can be appointed.

Here are some facts about Umerov, who will replace Oleksii Reznikov as Defense Minister:

Umerov, 41, is a Crimean Tatar, a Turkic people from the Black Sea Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. He was born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to a Crimean Tatar family deported from Soviet Crimea in the 1940s. Since 2020, Umerov has been a member of the Ukrainian government working group on the strategy to end the occupation of Crimea.

* In September 2022, Umarov, a lawmaker from the pro-European Holos party, became head of the State Property Fund, which sells state assets to private investors. He has the honor of turning around a company that was often mired in corruption scandals. He resumed the sale of state property, raising record revenues for the government during the war.

* Umerov, described by those close to him as a skilled negotiator, was a member of the Ukrainian team that negotiated with Russia in March 2022, a month after Russia’s full-scale invasion. He also participated in talks on a Black Sea grain deal and the exchange of prisoners, including Ukraine’s Azov fighters, captured during the battle for the southern city of Mariupol in 2022. Saudi Arabia in May, and with First Lady Olena Zelenska during a visit to the United Arab Emirates in March.

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Umerov began his career in the private sector. He joined one of Ukraine’s leading mobile operators in 2004. In 2013 he founded his own investment firm ASTEM and its ASTEM Foundation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in finance.

Reporting by Anna Bruchnicka and Olena Harmash, Editing by Tom Balmforth and Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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