The Ministry of Industrial Policy of Ukraine is insisting that its order on appointment of Serhii Merenkov as the new acting head of the Antonov state enterprise is legitimate.

Deputy Minister of Industrial Policy of Oleksandr Kalenkov told a press conference on Wednesday that the ministry was operating normally and had all the necessary authority to make decisions, including personnel decisions, despite the fact that it is in a process of reorganization.

"It is true that the enterprises [controlled by the Ministry of Industrial Policy] will be transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, but this process has not yet been completed and it will continue for a few more months," said Kalenkov.

He added that the Cabinet of Ministers made the decision to relieve Dmytro Kiva of the post of president/general designer of the Antonov state enterprise in April and instructed the Ministry of Industrial Policy to implement this decision. Kalenkov believes that Kiva’s resistance to his dismissal constitutes a corporate raid on the state enterprise by its former head.

According to the deputy minister, the decision to replace Kiva was made because an economic analysis of the Antonov state enterprise’s operations showed that his management team was ineffective.

Asked about the need to agree this decision with the leadership of the Kyiv city administration, Kalenkov stressed that the city authorities did not respond to the relevant request from the Ministry of Industrial Policy in April. It became known only in June that the Kyiv city administration’s then-head Volodymyr Bondarenko opposed the decision.

According Kalenkov, the Ministry of Industrial Policy has already sent petitions and complaints to law enforcement authorities regarding the resistance by Antonov’s management.

Lawyers for the Antonov state enterprise recently said that Kalenkov’s attempts to replace the management of the Antonov state enterprise were illegal. In addition, the Antonov state enterprise has said that it is not ruling out involvement of Russia in the attempt to replace its management.