Zelensky suspends Security Service chief, prosecutor general
MOSCOW. July 18 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a decree discharging Ivan Bakanov of performing his duties as chief of the Ukrainian Security Service.
Ukrainian media have reported that presidential decree No. 499/2022 suspending Bakanov was published on the presidential website on Sunday.
"In line with Article 47 of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Disciplinary Regulation, endorsed by Ukrainian law No. 551-XIV of March 24, 1999, Ivan Hennadiyovych Bakanov shall be discharged from performing his duties as Chief of the Ukrainian Security Service," the decree says.
Article 47 of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Disciplinary Regulation says, "Failure to perform (inappropriate performance of) official duties that resulted in the loss of life or other grave consequences or created a threat of such consequences serves as grounds for discharging such a service member from performing their official duties."
Zelensky also suspended Iryna Venediktova from the office of prosecutor general and appointed Oleksiy Symonenko acting prosecutor general.
Ukrainian media said decrees No. 500/2022 and No. 501/2022 were also published on the presidential website on Sunday.
"In line with Article 11, Part 2, of the law of Ukraine On Martial Law Legal Framework, I order that Iryna Valentynivna Venediktova be suspended from the office of prosecutor general," the decree says.
"In line with Article 11, Part 2, of the law of Ukraine On Martial Law Legal Framework, I order that Oleksiy Yuriyovych Symonenko perform the duties of prosecutor general," it says.
Commenting on his decisions in a video address on Sunday evening, Zelensky said crimes against the foundations of Ukraine's national security invite questions for some senior officials.
"As of now, 651 criminal proceedings have been registered, which deal with high treason and collaborationist activities of officials from the prosecution service, pretrial investigative bodies, and other law enforcement agencies. In 198 criminal proceedings, the relevant individuals were notified of being treated as suspects. In particular, over 60 prosecution and Security Service officials have worked against our state," Zelensky said.
"Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the state's national security and connections uncovered between officials of Ukrainian security agencies and Russian special services invite very serious questions for the relevant chiefs," he said.
"Each of these questions will receive due answers. I decided today to discharge the prosecutor general from her office and to discharge Ukrainian Security Service chairman [from his duties]," Zelensky said.
Meanwhile, Andriy Smyrnov, deputy chief of the Ukrainian presidential office, said the decisions did not mean Ivan Bakanov's and Iryna Venediktova's dismissal for the time being.
"We are not speaking of the dismissal of these two officials for the time being. We are saying that the prosecutor general has been discharged from her office and the Security Service chief temporarily discharged from his duties," Ukrainian media quoted Smyrnov as saying.
"The president has made the relevant decision so as to rule out that these two officials might potentially have any influence on the criminal proceedings in which Security Service officials are being investigated on suspicion of collaboration [with Russia], and the same concerns prosecutors," Smyrnov said.
He assumed that, upon the conclusion of the relevant inquiries, Bakanov and Venediktova might retain their posts, as well.
Zelensky also signed a decree appointing Vasyl Malyuk acting chief of the Ukrainian Security Service.
Decree No. 504/2022 dated July 18 is available on the presidential website.
"First Deputy Chief of the Ukrainian Security Service Vasyl Vasylyovych Malyuk shall temporarily perform duties as chief of the Ukrainian Security Service," the decree says.