President Zelenskyy of Ukraine Fires Spy Chief and Top State Prosecutor

Dr. E.C. Beuck
Ivan Bakanov, head of the security service of Ukraine, and Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general of Ukraine at a news briefing in MayValentyn Ogirenko/Reuters via the Guardian

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired Ivan Bakanov, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine as well as Iryna Venediktova, the state prosecutor general. Announced via executive orders on President Zelenskyy's website, the main justification was dozens of cases of collaboration between officials in each agency with Russia over the course of the war throwing the leadership qualifications of both into question. This comes despite the childhood friendship between President Zelenskyy and Ivan Bakanov, and how Iryna Venediktova played an important role in the prosecution of Russian war crimes.

Of the two, the removal of Ivan Bakanov from his position comes as less of a surprise. Despite his friendship with President Zelenskyy, and how he ran both his entertainment company as well as his presidential campaign, it has been known for some time that President Zelenskyy was looking to potentially remove his long-time friend and confidant from his position heading the Security Service of Ukraine. In large part this was due to criticisms levied against the actions of the Security Service of Ukraine in the early days of the war, such as the criticisms that officials of this service failed to blow up the Antonovskiy Bridge that crosses the Dnipro river, which allowed for Russian soldiers to easily move into Kherson.

According to a press release, there are more than 60 employees from these offices that have remained in Russian occupied territory and have worked actively against Ukrainian interests in the war. Seeking to redress the issues of collaboration within these agencies, President Zelenskyy announced that 651 criminal proceedings have been registered regarding collaboration activities and treason conducted by employees of the prosecutor's offices, the pre-trail investigation bodies, as well as from other Ukrainian law enforcement agencies.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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