Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, suspended the country’s prosecutor general and spy agency (SBU), quoting several cases of treason in the two influential organizations. According to the president, over sixty former workers were now working against the country in Russian-occupied regions. He added that overall, six hundred and fifty-one treason and collaboration cases had been initiated against law enforcement officials.
President of Ukraine, removed Ivan Bakanov, the country’s Security Services, and its prosecutor general.Zelenskyy said several criminal inquiries for suspected treason and collaboration activities were ongoing in the East European country.#VolodymyrZelenskyy #PresidentofUkraine pic.twitter.com/CgkjToLsmk
— Live News Now (@LiveNewsNow6) July 18, 2022
The suspended officials, Iryna Venediktova and Ivan Bakanov have not commented. Late Sunday, Zelensky said in a video that such an array of crimes against the fundamentals of the state’s national security grave severe concerns to the heads of the two organizations. However, Zelensky added that every question would receive a proper answer.
Later on, in an appearance on Ukrainian Television, one of Zelensky’s top advisers clarified that initially, the president did not fire the officials but removed them pending an investigation. As a result, the president took appropriate decisions to prevent these two officials from potentially influencing criminal proceedings and the prosecutor’s office’s investigation into SBU employees suspected of cooperating with the aggressor country, according to Smirnov.
A former regional head of the SBU in Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, was arrested after a high-profile arrest of Ivan Bakanov, chief of SBU. There is suspicion that Oleh Kulinych committed treason. The Ukrainian president said, “Everyone who worked in the interests of the Russian Federation together with him will also be held accountable.”
Russian War Crimes in Ukraine
Earlier this month, Venediktova told BBC News that her office was probing around allegedly twenty-one thousand war crimes of violence Russian soldiers committed since the start of its attack on Ukraine. Here below are some latest developments regarding the Russia-Ukraine war:
- An anti-war message was interrupted during a live TV broadcast by Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who was arrested and released by Moscow police in March.
- Hundreds of distraught relatives and locals attended the funeral of 4-year-old Liza, one of twenty-four individuals killed when Russian missiles struck Vinnytsia, a city in central Ukraine.
- The Kommersant newspaper in Russia reported that Canada flew back a turbine for the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline to Germany. It may reach Russia in five to seven days. There were concerns that Moscow could shut down gas deliveries to Europe during annual repairs to the line.
- In case Ukraine attacks Crimea, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warns there will be a “Judgement Day.”
- Russia moved numerous warships from Crimea further east to Novorossiysk, according to Ukraine. Following further deliveries from its Western allies, Kyiv has received longer-range missile systems.