Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky fired two important members of his cabinet because he didn’t think they were good leaders and because he thought some of their subordinates were working with Russia and committing treason.
“Today I made a decision to remove the Prosecutor General from office and to dismiss the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine,” Zelensky remarked, in his nightly video broadcast.
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and State Security Service (SBU) director Ivan Bakanov, a long-time associate of the president, were both fired.
According to Zelensky, numerous officers in both departments were accused of treachery.
“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 stayed 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.”
He also stated that the previous head of the Main Directorate of the Security Service in Crimea had been held on suspicion of treason.
“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 officers in southern Ukraine’s SBU have been accused of Russian forces’ ease in capturing significant portions of the south within a week of the invasion.
Zelensky stated that there would be more 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 that the Prime Minister would have to work harder to find a new leader for the National Anticorruption Bureau.