Day 558: Zelenskyi dismisses his defense minister. And: One of the richest men in Ukraine is suspected of corruption. All information in the news blog.
The most important things at a glance
Powerful oligarch arrested in Ukraine
11.50 p.m.: In Ukraine, the former supporter of President Volodymyr Zelenskyj and influential businessman Ihor Kolomoisky has been accused of money laundering. Between 2013 and 2020, Kolomoisky circulated more than half a billion hryvnia, the equivalent of around 12.5 million euros, in black money, the Ukrainian domestic secret service SBU said on Saturday in the short message service Telegram. Kolomoisky, one of the richest people in the country, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The SBU released images of investigators standing in front of Kolomoisky’s house. You can see the suspect accepting documents. At the beginning of the year, security authorities searched the 60-year-old’s apartment as part of investigations into embezzlement and tax evasion in two oil companies. Kolomoisky held shares in both companies. The US sanctioned Kolomoisky in 2021 for money laundering.
In addition to a number of assets in the energy, banking and other sectors, the oligarch also owned one of Ukraine’s most influential television channels. There Selenskyj made a career in a comedy show and became known throughout the country. Later, Kolomoisky supported Zelenskjy’s election campaign. The current president has declared that he has no personal ties with Kolomoisky.
Zelenskyi wants to sack Ukrainian Defense Minister Reznikov
9:19 p.m.: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would ask parliament to sack Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov. This should happen next week, Zelenskyj said in a video speech. He expects Parliament to approve his proposal. “I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and different formats of interaction both with the military and with society in general,” Zelenskyy said. Read more here.
Ukraine expects F-16 jets to be in service from spring
6:12 p.m.: Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov expects the use of Western F-16 fighter jets against the Russian attackers next spring. In an interview with the Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform published on Sunday, the minister said that in addition to training pilots on the fighter jets, the country’s infrastructure as well as experts and facilities for maintenance must be provided. It should therefore be spring before the machines are actually used at the front.
The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have pledged F-16 supplies to Ukraine. Reznikov said he had to write several letters with assurances that these NATO weapons would not be used against Russian territory. Russia has warned that the use of Western warplanes will contribute to further escalating violence in the war.
So far, the country has been assured of more than 50 aircraft. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently even demanded a total of 160 F-16s, with which the country wants to regain sovereignty over its airspace. Several countries are involved in training Ukrainian pilots.
Ukraine: Russian warboat wrecked in Black Sea
5:58 p.m.: According to the military, the Ukrainian Navy has destroyed a Russian warboat on the Black Sea coast. The enemy garrison went ashore in the north-west of the Black Sea, six occupiers were killed and two injured, the Ukrainian Navy said on Sunday in the Telegram news channel.