KYIV, Ukraine: As Russia continued its relentless shelling across the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday expanded the shakeup of his security services by suspending 28 more officers, a day after he sacked two senior officials on charges made that their agencies “harass allies” and traitors.”
In his nightly video address, Zelensky said a “personnel audit” of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) was underway, and a decision was being made to dismiss 28 officers.
“Different levels, different areas of focus. But the reasons are the same – unsatisfactory results of work,” Zelensky said.
On Sunday they fired SBU chief Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova. Zelensky cited hundreds of criminal proceedings in treason and cooperation by people within his departments and other law enforcement agencies.
“Six months into the war, we continue to uncover the load of these people in each of these agencies,” said Andrey Smirnov, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.
Analysts said the move is designed to bolster Zelensky’s control over the military and security agencies, led by those appointed before the Russian offensive began on February 24.
“In the conditions of war, Zelensky needs leaders who are able to deal with several tasks at the same time – to oppose the intrigues of Russia within the country to create a fifth column, to liaise with international experts and To be in coordination, to do their actual work, Volodymyr Fesenko, a political analyst at the Penta Center think tank, told The Associated Press.
Bakanov is a childhood friend and former business partner of Zelensky, who appointed him head of the SBU. Bakanov’s criticism of the security breaches since the start of the war had been mounting.
Venediktova won international acclaim for her campaign to collect war-crime evidence against Russian military commanders and officers, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, over the destruction of Ukrainian cities and the killing of civilians.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price, speaking to reporters in Washington, said the two governments were in close contact when asked about the personnel change.
“The fact is, in all of our relationships, and in this relationship, we don’t invest in individuality. We invest in institutions and, of course, President Zelensky talked about his reasoning for shifting these personnel. It is,” Price said.
He said Washington would continue to work with Kyiv on war-crime investigations and information sharing. “There is an important element of intelligence assistance that we are providing to our Ukrainian partners in an effort to help protect them,” he said.
Zelensky appointed the first deputy head of the SBU, Vasil Malyuk, as acting chief. Malyuk, 39, is known for his efforts to fight corruption in security agencies; His appointment was seen as part of Zelensky’s efforts to get rid of pro-Russian staff in the SBU.
Fesenko said that discontent with Bakanov and Venediktova had been going on for some time, and it was possible that Ukraine’s Western partners explained the poor performance of the SBU and the Prosecutor General’s Office to Zelensky.
Meanwhile, Russia proceeded with its missile and shelling attacks, which Ukrainian officials said were designed to intimidate the civilian population and create panic.
However, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that his troops had “stabilized the situation” at the front, mainly thanks to Western deliveries of technologically advanced rocket systems.
“It’s complicated, tense, but perfectly controlled,” General Valerie Zaluzny wrote on Telegram after a phone call with the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A.
“An important factor contributing to the maintenance of our defensive lines and positions is the timely arrival of the M142 HIMARS, which carry out targeted attacks against enemy command posts, ammunition and fuel depots,” Zaluzny recently said. Said referring to the given light multiple-rocket launchers. America.
Ukraine’s emergency service said at least six people were killed on Monday in Russian shelling targeting the city of Toretsk in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Toretsk was briefly taken in the 2014 Russian offensive, but Ukrainian forces recaptured the city.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said Russian shelling was continuing there. He said there were four Russian attacks on the city of Kramatorsk and urged civilians to evacuate.
“We see that the Russians want to sow fear and panic,” Kirilenko said in remarks on television. “The front line is moving, so civilians must leave the area and evacuate.”
About 1,000 civilians were evacuated to Ukraine on Monday from Russian-held areas in the northern Kharkiv region, Governor Oleh Sinihubov said. About a third of the area has remained in Russian hands since its capture by Moscow troops in April.
A funeral was held for a Ukrainian soldier at the Golden-Domed Monastery of St. Michael in Kyiv on Monday after his car collided with a landmine near Izium last week. His family could not bury him in his hometown in eastern Ukraine as it is under Russian occupation.
The cathedral was full of mourners who paid their last respects to Funat, as the soldier was known. Whenever the priest stopped, the soldier’s mother’s voice reverberated in the church.
“We will love you forever and ever. We will miss you dearly!” He cried, caressing the closed coffin. “Why do we need to be in this damned war?”
Other Events Monday:
• Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected troops involved in fighting in Ukraine and ordered the military to prioritize the destruction of Ukraine’s long-range missiles and artillery, according to a ministry statement. It was not immediately clear when and where the inspection took place.
• UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman said “increasing, little progress has been made” on a proposed UN package deal that would allow millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to be shipped from the Black Sea and to Russian grain and fertilizer. To be shipped to world markets without any restrictions. Spokesperson Farhan Haq said the UN chief spoke to Zelensky about the talks. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said a new round of talks could take place in Turkey later this week. About 22 million tons of grain are stuck in Ukraine because of the war.
• Ukraine says some Russian forces fighting in the east of the country have been using topographic maps since 1969. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army, citing the country’s internal security service, said the maps were used by Russian troops fighting around Kharkiv, but that buildings had not been built since the early 1970s.
• Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, met with Foreign Minister Antony Blinken as she began a series of high-profile appearances in Washington. She will meet her US counterpart Jill Biden on Tuesday. Price said Blinken assured Zelenska of the United States’ commitment to Ukraine, and commended her for her work with civilians dealing with trauma and other damage from the war.