Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired the country’s prosecutor general and the head of the state security service on July 17, in a major shake-up sparked by reports of “treason.”
In a video address, Zelensky announced that he dismissed Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova and Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Chief Ivan Bakanov without mentioning them by name.
Zelensky said that 651 criminal proceedings have been registered regarding treason and relevant persons were notified of suspicion in 198 criminal proceedings.
“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,” 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,” Zelensky further said.
The duties of the Prosecutor-General’s Office have been assigned to Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, citing a decree.
Zelensky did not say who would take over at SBU.
Venediktova was Zelensky’s close ally and foreign affairs adviser during his presidential run. She became the prosecutor-general in March 2020 and was leading investigations into Russian war crimes.
Bakanov was Zelensky’s childhood friend and former business partner who became the SBU chief in August 2019.
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