Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed two top officials, including top security chief, questioning their leadership qualities and also accused many of their subordinates of treason and working with Russia.
In a nightly video address on Sunday, Zelenskyy said, “Today I made a decision to remove the Prosecutor General from office and to dismiss the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine.”
The officials dismissed are Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and State Security Service (SBU) head Ivan Bakanov.
The President said, “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.”
Explaining the decision to remove the two officials, he 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 pointed out that the former head of the Main Directorate of the Security Service in Crimea has also been detained 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,” he added.
According to CNN, 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.