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Zelensky dismisses the country's intelligence chief and attorney general amid treason accusations

MADRID, 17 Jul.

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Zelensky dismisses the country's intelligence chief and attorney general amid treason accusations


The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, has dismissed with immediate effect the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ivan Bakanov, and the country's Prosecutor General, Irina Venediktova, as announced this Sunday in a presidential decree followed of a public appearance of the president, in which he has accused employees of both departments of carrying out acts of treason against the Ukrainian State.

Venediktova will be replaced by Oleksiy Simonenko while Bakalov's replacement has not been announced, until now a member of the president's closest circle of friends and from whom the president, according to sources from the US news portal Politico, had distanced himself after the fall of the Kherson region into Russian hands during the first weeks of the war.

According to the decree published on the website of the Presidency of Ukraine, Bakalov has been dismissed in accordance with Article 47 of the Disciplinary Statute of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which refers to the "failure to perform (or improper performance of) duties of service with the consequent cost of human lives".

For her part, the prosecutor has been dismissed by virtue of the war powers assumed by Zelenski after the Russian invasion of the country, without giving further details. The decree specifically refers to article 11 of the martial law that is in force in Ukraine and that "gives the President the power to dismiss an official whose appointment is under his authority."

In an appearance before the population after announcing the dismissals, the President of Ukraine has argued that around 60 members of the staff of the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Security Service "remained in the territories occupied by Russia and collaborated with the Russians".

"Such a set of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state and the connections that have been registered between the employees of the security forces of Ukraine and the special services of Russia raise very serious questions to the relevant leaders," the official said. president in comments collected by the 'kyiv Independent'.

Zelensky has mentioned as an example the recent arrest of the former head of the SBU for Crimea, Oleg Kulinich, on charges of treason. The president had dismissed him in March, a few days after the conflict began.

"This person was fired by me at the beginning of the full-scale invasion and, as we can see, that decision was absolutely justified, and we have gathered enough evidence to notify this person of suspected treason," he said.

The president added "all those who together with him were part of a criminal group working in collusion with the Russian Federation will also be held responsible for the transfer of secret information to the enemy and other acts of cooperation with Russian special services."