Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired the country's spy chief on Sunday over accusations of high treason. Security chief Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova were fired from their offices after Zelensky lost faith in them.
In a video address published on Telegram on Sunday, Zelensky revealed that dozens of officials from both offices were helping Russia in the war with Ukraine. From both offices, over 60 employees are working with Russia-appointed officials in occupied cities.
Bakanov Has Been A Childhood Friend of Zelensky
Apart from holding the position of spy chief of Ukraine, Bakanov has been a close childhood friend of Zelensky and had led his presidential campaign. While Venediktova has also been a close ally of comedian-turned-president and during Zelensky's presidential run, he also served as his foreign affairs adviser.
Oleksii Symonenko Appointed as Acting Prosecutor General
One decree stated that Venediktova was removed from her position as the Prosecutor General of Ukraine in accordance with the second part of Article 11 of the Law on the Legal Regime of Martial Law. In another decree, Zelenskyy appointed Oleksii Symonenko, Deputy Prosecutor General, as Acting Prosecutor General, according to Ukrainian Pravda.
"According to Article 47 of the disciplinary statute of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, signed into law on 24 March 1999 as law No. 551âXIV, Ivan Hennadiovych Bakanov is hereby removed from his position as head of the Security Service of Ukraine," the decree read, according to the report.
Reports had emerged previously that Zelensky was unsatisfied with Bakanov and was considering replacing him.
"We are highly unsatisfied with his job and are working to get rid of him," a top Ukrainian official close to Zelenskyy told Politico in June on the condition of anonymity to talk about sensitive personnel issues.
"We are not satisfied with his managerial, you know, [skills] because now you need ... anti-crisis management skills like we don't think that he has," said the official.