Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a number of personnel decisions in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), dismissing the service's two first deputy heads, Ruslan Baranetsky and Vasyl Maliuk, according to a statement posted on the website of the head of state.
"President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a number of decisions regarding officials of the Security Service of Ukraine. Ruslan Baranetsky has been dismissed as first deputy chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine and relieved of his duties as head of the Anti-Terrorist Center at the Security Service of Ukraine," the statement said.
Zelensky also dismissed Maliuk, the first deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine and the head of the Main Department for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime.
In addition, Serhii Andrushchenko was dismissed as the SBU's deputy head and transferred to the post of first deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine and head of its Anti-Terrorist Center.
Zelensky also sacked Oleksii Korniichuk, the head of the SBU's Department for the Counterintelligence Protection of State Interests in the Sphere of Information Security, and Vitalii Monastyretskyi, the head of the SBU's directorate in Chernivtsi region.
The President's Office said the main reason behind these decisions was to ensure the SBU's readiness for a systemic transformation that will meet the content of the SBU reform, and a respective bill is being worked out in the Verkhovna Rada.
"There is no alternative to the reform of the service. As soon as the parliament votes for the reform, we should start the transformation on the first day, without wasting time on adapting to the decision," Zelensky said.
He specified that the work of the SBU should now be intensified, taking into account future changes, and the state needs much more intensive activity of the SBU in fulfilling the tasks set by law.
"The second task is to significantly intensify the fight against smuggling. The pace of work against smuggling, which we see now, cannot suit anyone," Zelensky said.
The President's Office said that according to expert estimates, the state loses up to UAH 300 billion each year as a result of smuggling activities.
The foundation for countering such destructive activities should be the strengthening of the SBU's work, the report said.
"Concrete results should be seen both at the border and in all state institutions responsible for the purity of economic processes," Zelensky said.