Zelensky fires top officials over staffers’ ‘collaboration’ with Russia

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“Today I made a decision to remove the Prosecutor General from office and to dismiss the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine,” Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

The two officials dismissed are Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and State Security Service (SBU) head Ivan Bakanov, a long-time associate of the president.

Zelensky said many officials within both departments were suspected of treason.

“As of today, 651 criminal proceedings have been registered regarding treason and collaboration activities of employees of prosecutor’s offices, pretrial investigation bodies, and other law enforcement agencies,” he said.

“In particular, more than 60 employees of the prosecutor’s office and the Security Service of Ukraine remained in the occupied territory and are working against our state.”

Explaining his decision to remove Venediktova and Bakanov, Zelensky said: “Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state and the connections detected between the employees of the security forces of Ukraine and the special services of Russia pose very serious questions to the relevant leadership. Each of these questions will receive a proper answer.”

The former head of the Main Directorate of the Security Service in Crimea has also been detained on suspicion of treason, he said.

“Everyone who together with him was part of a criminal group that worked in the interests of the Russian Federation will also be held accountable. It is about the transfer of secret information to the enemy and other facts of cooperation with the Russian special services.”

Senior officials in the SBU in southern Ukraine have been blamed for the ease with which Russian forces were able to capture large areas of the south within a week of the invasion.

Zelensky indicated there would be further action.

“The specific actions and any inaction of each official in the security sector and in law enforcement agencies will be evaluated. The corresponding inspection of law enforcement agencies has already yielded the first results and will be continued.”

Zelensky also said the Prime Minister would be tasked with intensifying the search for a new head of the National Anticorruption Bureau.

July 18, 2022 at 04:39AM

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