New Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov calls for immediate international support in the form of heavy weaponry amid a crucial counteroffensive against Russian forces.
In a critical address to Ukraine and its international partners, newly appointed Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has called for an urgent escalation in the delivery of heavy weaponry as Ukrainian forces continue their grueling counteroffensive against Russian military incursions. Umerov’s plea, issued in an embargoed speech, underscores the dire need for immediate support as the country navigates a pivotal juncture in its history.
Umerov’s Crucial Appointment Amidst Corruption Scandals and Ongoing Struggles
Rustem Umerov’s appointment as Ukraine’s Defense Minister comes at a pivotal moment for the nation. He was selected by President Volodymyr Zelensky to succeed Oleksii Reznikov, who resigned following a series of corruption scandals that marred his 22-month tenure. Umerov, expressing his gratitude and acknowledgment of the immense responsibility bestowed upon him, said:
“The highest priority for us today is our warriors: their lives, safety, dignity.”
Umerov takes the helm as Ukraine’s forces are locked in a protracted struggle to achieve a breakthrough in the southeastern regions, a pivotal endeavor aimed at undermining Russian defenses across the area. The operation’s slow progress has raised concerns among Ukraine’s foreign allies.
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 11, 2023
Renewed Vision: Strengthening Alliances and Pursuing NATO Membership
Foreign military aid will top Umerov’s agenda, with a clear emphasis on the necessity for additional weaponry. He implored international partners, stating, “We’re stronger together. We’re grateful for all the support provided. But we need to continue our war coalition efforts to win this war.”
Highlighting the sacrifices made by Ukrainian soldiers in defense of democracy and freedom, Umerov passionately asserted:
“Our new national security and defense strategy of Ukraine is based on the victory doctrine of the president of Ukraine and new challenges and realities. Our goal is to become a NATO member. No doubt that this day will soon come, hopefully.”
He further articulated Ukraine’s strategic priorities, encompassing the Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea, and Adriatic Sea regions, while stressing the need for a bolstered navy, air defense, and artillery. “We have big challenges ahead and big opportunities ahead,” Umerov affirmed. “Every day we advance, and every day we make our victory closer. Ukraine will win.”
Modernizing Ukraine’s Defense Is Crucial
Amid his vision for Ukraine’s defense, Umerov hinted at imminent reforms aligned with President Zelensky‘s call for a “new approach” within the Defense Ministry. Ensuring the dignity of soldiers in all interactions with the state emerged as a paramount goal. Umerov also indicated the introduction of a “military ombudsman” to focus on the needs of military personnel.
“Digitization” was another key component of the Defense Ministry’s future plans. Umerov emphasized the importance of minimizing bureaucracy and paperwork in a time of war, asserting that “everything has to be digitized, and we will take care of cybersecurity.”
President Zelensky, speaking at the same conference, reiterated the urgency of weapons deliveries, emphasizing their crucial role in supporting Ukraine’s troops during the ongoing counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s Ongoing Counteroffensive: Challenges and Victories on the Battlefield
Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which commenced in June, has been an arduous endeavor aimed at reclaiming territory seized by Russian forces in the northeast and south. While the country has been stockpiling Western weaponry, its gains have been limited as Ukrainian forces grapple with heavily fortified Russian defensive positions.
Nonetheless, Ukraine celebrated a significant strategic victory with the capture of the southern village of Robotyne last month.
Most recently, though reports have yet to be independently verified, Ukrainian troops have claimed to have regained more territory on the eastern and southern fronts in its military counteroffensives on Monday. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar has announced significant territorial gains over the past week. Accordingly, troops have successfully retaken nearly two square kilometers (0.77 square miles) of land near the heavily damaged city of Bakhmut, which had fallen into Russian hands in May following months of intense combat.
These are the indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of Sept. 11, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/hUFcsrlEml
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) September 11, 2023
Maliar further revealed that Ukrainian troops had managed to reclaim part of the village of Opytne, situated south of the city of Avdiivka, and had achieved “partial success” near the town of Novomaiorske in the eastern Donetsk region. Additionally, she reported “some success” in the areas surrounding Andriivka and Klishchiivka, a village strategically located on elevated terrain south of Bakhmut, signifying a crucial step towards securing control of the city. These recent territorial gains exemplify progress in Ukraine’s relentless pursuit to reclaim its sovereign land, advancing further into the Moscow-annexed region of Crimea.
In conclusion, Rustem Umerov’s appointment as Ukraine’s Defense Minister marks a critical juncture in the nation’s struggle against Russian aggression. His impassioned plea for increased heavy weapons support underscores the situation’s urgency as Ukrainian forces continue their determined counteroffensive. With a clear vision for Ukraine’s defense strategy and a commitment to reforms, Umerov aims to navigate the country toward a more secure and prosperous future, standing firmly with international partners to pursue victory and preserve core democratic values.