President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Iryna Venediktova as Prosecutor General and Ivan Bakanov as Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine on July 17, according to the corresponding presidential decrees.
Venediktova was removed from her post in accordance with Article 11 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Legal Regime of Martial Law.” Her deputy, Oleksiy Symonenko, will take over her duties.
Another decree states that Bakanov was removed from his post in accordance with Article 47 of the Disciplinary Charter of the Armed Forces of Ukraine: "failure to perform or improper performance of official duties that caused human casualties or other grave consequences or created a threat of such consequences.”
According to a statement made by the president via his official Telegram channel, these sackings were done as a result of “very serious questions to the relevant leadership” regarding hundreds of cases of treason and collaboration against officials in both the SBU and the Prosecutor-General’s Office.
In late June, U.S. politics news outlet Politico reported that Zelenskyy was aiming to replace Bakanov due to the loss of Kherson. Numerous sources within the president’s office have blamed the SBU for the city’s occupation, which occurred during the early days of the full-scale invasion. Later, the president said that the dismissal of the SBU head will depend on the results of an inspection and "if he wanted to fire him, he would have fired him."
Bakanov took the post as the SBU head at the beginning of Zelenskyy's term. He had no prior security experience, having previously worked as the head of Zelensky’s entertainment studio, and was considered to be a personal friend of the incoming president. He also managed Zelensky’s electoral campaign.
In May 2019, he was appointed the SBU's first deputy chairman. Later, he became the SBU's acting head, and took charge of the agency in August.
Zelenskyy tapped Iryna Venediktova as Prosecutor General on March 17, 2020.