Serious allegations of collusion with the Russians
Zelensky fires Secret Service chief and attorney general for high treason
Serious allegations: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired two key figures in his security service. You have been charged with high treason. There are apparently hundreds of criminal cases against employees for alleged collusion with the Russians.
Published: 07/18/2022 00:22
Updated: 02:03 AM
Treason in the security apparatus: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (44) on Sunday fired two key figures in his security agencies: the attorney general and the head of the domestic intelligence service (SBU) on charges of high treason. Hundreds of employees in their ranks are Russian collaborators.
The dismissals of Attorney General Irina Venediktova, 43, and Secret Service Chief Ivan Baghanov, 47, marked the biggest change in Zelensky’s government apparatus since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. This crackdown also speaks to the high pressure under Zelensky.
Baganov is a childhood friend of the president. Their friendship goes back decades. A close associate of Zelensky has headed the secret service since 2019. On the other hand, Venediktova was seen as a beacon of hope. She is the first woman to be appointed as the country’s Attorney General.
Both have now been charged with sedition. Exact charges are not available in detail, but there have been several trials for treason. Law enforcement officials, including the Attorney General’s Office and the Secret Service, are alleged Russian collaborators.
There are 651 criminal cases against employees of the State Prosecutor’s Office and other law enforcement agencies for treason and cooperation with Russian services, Zelensky said in a short televised speech on Sunday evening.
More than 60 employees of the Ukrainian secret service and the public prosecutor’s office are said to have switched sides and are working for Russia. In 198 cases, victims were reported as suspects.
Zelensky spoke about “undisclosed contacts between the employees of the Ukrainian security forces and the Russian special services.” Baganov and Venediktova were not charged as collaborators. But “such a series of crimes against the foundation of the state’s national security raises very serious questions for responsible leadership,” says Zelensky.
Zelensky accused the sacked high-ranking government officials of “failing to fulfill their official duties”, “which led to human casualties or other serious consequences”. In times of war, high treason usually meant death. Martial law gives extended powers to the military and restricts civil rights. (case)
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