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Who is Rustem Umerov, Ukraine's new defence minister?

FILE PHOTO: Rustem Umerov attends a meeting in the Ukrainian president's office in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament voted to approve the appointment of Rustem Umerov as defence minister on Wednesday after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy proposed him to replace Oleksii Reznikov.

Here are some facts about Umerov:

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

* In September 2022, Umerov, then a lawmaker from the pro-European Holos party, became head of the State Property Fund, an agency selling state assets to private investors. He is credited with turning round an institution that has frequently been mired in corruption scandals. He also relaunched sales of state property, raising record proceeds for the state during the war.

* Umerov, described as a talented negotiator by people close to him, was a member of the Ukrainian team that held negotiations with Russia in March 2022, one month after Russia's full-scale invasion on Ukraine. He also took part in talks on the U.N.-brokered wartime deal that allowed Ukraine to export its grain through the Black Sea and on prisoner exchanges, including those involving Ukraine's Azov fighters who were captured by Russia during the battle for the southern city of Mariupol in 2022. He was also a member of the delegation during a visit by Zelenskiy to Saudi Arabia in May, and accompanied first lady Olena Zelenska on a visit to the United Arab Emirates in March.

* Umerov began his career in the private sector. He joined one of Ukraine's leading mobile operators in 2004. In 2013 he set up his own investment company, ASTEM, and its ASTEM Foundation. He has a bachelor degree in economics and masters in finance.

* When proposing Umerov, Zelenskiy said new approaches and other forms of interaction with the military and society were needed as Russia's invasion entered its 19th month.

(Reporting by Anna Pruchnicka and Olena Harmash, Editing by Tom Balmforth and Timothy Heritage)