Zelensky intends to dismiss the head of the SBU – Politico

The reason for the likely dismissal may be the scandals surrounding high-ranking employees of the department, who left their posts at the beginning of the war. President Zelensky called some of them traitors.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky intends to dismiss the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Ivan Bakanov. How informs publication Politico, the head of the SBU may be fired due to unprofessionalism, and also due to the fact that some employees of his department left their posts with the start of Russian military aggression.

Journalists, citing their sources close to the Ukrainian president, write that Zelensky wants to replace Bakanov with someone more suitable for the position of head of the law enforcement agency. Old comrades and former colleagues from past professional activities now rarely talk lately, with the exception of state affairs. And most SBU operations are carried out from the Office of the President by people who are still in the trust of Zelensky and his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak.

According to the source, Bakanov is criticized both in the government of the country and in deputy circles. Dissatisfaction stems from the fact that the current head of the SBU was unable to properly respond to the Russian invasion on February 24 and manage his department, which has more than 30 thousand employees.

An official from Zelensky’s entourage says that Kyiv is allegedly extremely dissatisfied with Bakanov’s work.

“We are not satisfied with his managerial skills, because now we need crisis management skills, which we think he does not have,” the official said.

The journalists also mentioned the scandals around the top officials of the SBU, who at the beginning of the war violated the military oath given in allegiance to the Ukrainian people to protect Ukraine. We are talking about ex-general Sergey Krivoruchko, who was the head of the Kherson department of the SBU, his assistant head of the anti-terrorist center (ATC) Igor Sadokhin, as well as General Andrey Naumov, who headed the internal security department of the department.

Andrey Naumov

ex-general of the SBU Andrei Naumov

Photo: Radio Liberty

Igor Sadokhin

Igor Sadokhin, photo by MOST

The Ukrainian authorities charged all three former SBU officers with high treason. In his late video message on March 31, Zelensky deprived Naumov and Krivoruchko of military ranks and called them traitors.

“There are a lot of leaders of the regional SBU who behaved very strangely. Some fled. One guy, for example, in Chernihiv, burned down the entire building of the SBU for no reason, because he said that he did not have time to take out all the documents,” he told reporters source.

Moreover, according to him, there are suggestions that agents of the Russian special services penetrated the departmentwhich causes great damage to the security interests of the country, despite efforts to eradicate them.

Alex Kokcharov, an analyst at the American media holding S&P Global, says in this regard that a number of scandals in recent years have cast a shadow on the SBU. According to him, Kyiv wasted years by not reviewing the work of the department, when many feared a large-scale Russian invasion.

“All these scandals around the SBU, related to the questionable practice of investigating economic crimes, as well as inter-agency infighting, led to the fact that there was not enough preparation in specific areas in the south and east, which were more expected Russian targets,” Kokcharov said.

He also noted that one of the strengths of the SBU was the ability of the department to identify saboteurs and collaborators, but now the focus is not so much on the successes of the SBU as on its failures. And Bakanov, with the exception of a few photo shoots with Zelensky, has been “keeping in the shadows” since the beginning of the invasion.

Recall, ex-general of the Security Service of Ukraine Andriy Naumov was detained in Serbia on June 10. He tried to smuggle through the Presevo checkpoint on the border with North Macedonia a large amount of money – at least 600 thousand euros – as well as various jewelry.

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