The order by the Ukrainian president dismissed Security Service of Ukraine chief Ivan Bakanov, a childhood friend of Zelenskyy, and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova [File: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP Photo]

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he fired the officials over many cases of collaboration with Russia among their agencies’ members.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has issued executive orders sacking Ukraine’s prosecutor general and the head of the powerful Security Service of Ukraine (Sluzhba Bespeky Ukrayiny, or SBU).

The orders late on Sunday dismissing SBU chief Ivan Bakanov, a childhood friend of Zelenskyy, and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, who led the effort to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine, were published on the president’s official website.

In a separate Telegram post, Zelenskyy said he had fired the top officials because many cases had come to light of members of their agencies collaborating with Russia.

He said 651 treason and collaboration cases had been opened against prosecutorial and law enforcement officials, and that more than 60 officials from Bakanov and Venediktova’s agencies were now working against Ukraine in Russian-occupied territories.

“Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state … pose very serious questions to the relevant leaders,” Zelenskyy said.

“Each of these questions will receive a proper answer,” he said.

Zelenskyy replaced Venediktova with her deputy Oleksiy Symonenko as the new prosecutor general in a separate executive order that was also published on the president’s site.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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