Volodymyr Zelensky has fired its top security chief and prosecutor after hundreds of cases of treason and collaboration with Russia were uncovered.
The President of Ukraine fired Ivan Bakanov, the head of the security service, and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who had led efforts to prosecute Russia war crimes.
Zelenskyy said that more than 60 officers of the SBU security service and the prosecutor’s office in the Russian-occupied territories were working against Ukraine, and 651 cases of treason and collaboration had been opened against law enforcement officials.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired his top security chief and prosecutor after hundreds of cases of treason and collaboration with Russia were uncovered
Ukraine’s president fired Attorney General Iryna Venediktova, who had led efforts to prosecute Russian war crimes
The head of Ukraine’s security service, Ivan Bakanov, was also fired by Zelenskyy on Sunday
The firings and the sheer number of treason cases demonstrate the enormous challenge of Russian infiltration as Kyiv faces Moscow in a fight for survival.
“Such a series of crimes against the foundations of national security of the state … raises very serious questions for the relevant leaders,” said Zelenskyy. “Each of these questions will receive an appropriate answer.
In his late-night speech to the nation, Zelenskyy referred to the recent arrest on suspicion of treason of the former head of the SBU, which oversees the Crimea region, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 that Kyiv and the West still regard as a Ukrainian country.
Zelenskyi said he fired the top security official early in the invasion, a decision that has now been proven to be justified.
“Sufficient evidence has been gathered to report this person on suspicion of treason. All his criminal activities are documented,” he said.
A damaged building can be seen in Mykolayiv yesterday as Russia continues its barbaric attack on Ukraine
Grass burns after shelling not far from the front line amid Russian attack on Ukraine in Donbass region
Having failed to capture the capital Kyiv early in the invasion, Russian forces now control much of southern and eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists already control territory, in a campaign of devastating bombing raids.
Zelenskyi said Russia had deployed more than 3,000 cruise missiles so far and it was “impossible to count the number of artillery and other attacks”.
Dozens of relatives and local residents attended the funeral of 4-year-old Liza Dmytrieva on Sunday, one of 24 people killed in a Russian missile attack in the city of Vinnytsia last week.
Western shipments of long-range weapons are beginning to help Ukraine on the battlefield, with Kyiv spearheading a string of successful attacks on 30 Russian logistics and ammunition centers using several recently western-supplied multiple-missile systems.
The strikes are wreaking havoc on Russia’s supply lines and have significantly reduced Russia’s offensive capability, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.
Ukraine’s Southern Operations Command reported that it destroyed two Russian Pantsir missile systems, three strategic communications systems, a radar station, two ammunition depots and 11 armored and military vehicles in the Kherson region on Sunday.
Buildings destroyed by military strikes can be seen during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the north of Saltivka, one of the most damaged residential areas of Kharkiv
The Russian military is also using radio-electronic warfare to suppress satellite communications channels, Ukraine’s general staff said in a statement early Monday.
Russia has ordered military units to step up operations to prevent Ukrainian attacks on Russian-held areas, according to Ukraine, which reported over the weekend that it was firing along the frontline in preparation for a new attack.
Ukraine’s General Staff said its forces repelled Russian attacks in several cities in the Donetsk region.
“Fighting is currently taking place near Hryhorivka near the administrative areas between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” it said.
At least 10 blasts were reported overnight in the southern city of Mykolaiv, but there was no information on casualties, while in Avdiivka and Novy Donbas two people were killed and 10 injured, Ukraine’s General Staff said, citing local officials.
Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that Russia is stepping up defenses in areas it occupies in southern Ukraine, after pressure from Ukrainian forces and Ukrainian leaders pledged to drive Russia out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion on February 24, calling it a “military special operation” to demilitarize his neighbor and rid him of dangerous nationalists.
Kyiv and the West say it was an imperialist land grab, trying to retake a country that broke away from Moscow rule with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
According to the United Nations, the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II has killed more than 5,000 people, forced more than 6 million to flee Ukraine and left 8 million internally displaced.
Ukraine and the West say Russian forces target civilians and have been involved in war crimes, charges Moscow denies.