Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has issued executive orders sacking Ukraine’s prosecutor general and the head of the powerful Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) citing many cases of treason in the two powerful organisations.
The orders announced late on Sunday dismissing SBU chief Ivan Bakanov, a childhood friend of Zelensky, and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who led the effort to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine, were published on the president’s official website.
In a separate Telegram post, Zelensky said he had fired the top officials because many cases had come to light of members of their agencies collaborating with Russia.
He said 651 treason and collaboration cases had been opened against prosecutorial and law enforcement officials, and that more than 60 officials from Bakanov and Venediktova’s agencies were now working against Ukraine in Russian-occupied territories.
“Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state pose very serious questions to the relevant leaders,” Zelensky said.
“Each of these questions will receive a proper answer,” he added. 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 replaced Venediktova with her deputy Oleksiy Symonenko as the new prosecutor general in a separate executive order that was also published on the president’s site.
The President also said the Prime Minister would be tasked with intensifying the search for a new head of the National Anticorruption Bureau.