Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired the Ukrainian Prosecutor General and the head of the Secret Service, a childhood friend, accusing intelligence officials of working for Russia in the territories occupied by pro-Moscow forces.
Presidential decrees, signed on Sunday, confirmed the resignations of the Prosecutor General, Irina Venediktova, and the head of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), Ivan Bakanov, Zelensky’s childhood friend, according to international media.
“The specific actions and inaction of law enforcement officials will be evaluated,” the Ukrainian president said in a statement carried by Radio Free Europe. “To date, 651 criminal cases have been opened due to treason and cooperation activities by the Prosecutor’s Office, investigative forces and other security services,” Zelensky added.
“In particular, more than 60 officials of the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Unit remained in the occupied territories and are now working against our state,” Zelensky said.
“This group of crimes against the foundations of national security and the established links between officials of the Ukrainian security forces and Russian intelligence services raise serious questions for these leaders,” he added. “All these questions will have an appropriate answer,” he added.
Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine on February 24 that killed more than 5,000 civilians, according to the United Nations, which warns that the real number is likely to be much higher.
The Russian military offensive has caused more than 16 million people to flee, more than 5.7 million of whom have fled the country, according to the latest United Nations figures.
Also according to the United Nations, there are 15.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine.
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