According to an announcement from senior government official Taras Melnychuk on the Telegram application on November 20, the dismissed officials include Mr. Yuuri Shchyhol, head of Ukraine’s special state media and information protection agency. (SSSCIP), and his deputy is Viktor Zhora.
According to the news agency APMr. Viktor Zhora is the representative face of Ukraine in Western-supported efforts against cyber attack campaigns.
Mr. Melnychuk did not mention the reason behind the decision to fire the two cybersecurity leaders. Interfax Ukraine reported that Mr. Shchyhol wrote on the social network Facebook that he believed he could prove his innocence. Meanwhile, deputy Viktor Zhora has not commented yet.
Mr. Yuuri Shchyhol, head of the State Special Service for Information and Communications Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP). Photo: SSSCIP
News of the dismissal came less than an hour before anti-corruption prosecutors said they were investigating the head of SSSCIP and his deputy for their roles in the embezzlement of $1.72 million by six people. from 2020 to 2022.
According to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, authorities suspect these officials purchased software at inflated prices from two companies believed to be under their control.
Statement on Telegram, SSSCIP said it is cooperating with the investigation agency and affirmed that all of the agency’s procurement activities are carried out legally. SSSCIP is responsible for securing government communications and protecting the state from cyber attacks.
One day ago (November 19), President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced the replacement of the military medical commander and requested quick changes in the operations of the Ukrainian army. Major General Tetiana Ostashchenko, head of the military medical force, was dismissed, and replaced by Major General Anatoliy Kazmirchuk, head of a military hospital in the capital Kiev.
The recent dismissal of top officials, especially Ivan Bakanov, the former head of the State Security Service (SBU), is evidence of Ukraine’s efforts to crack down on corruption.
Ukraine has stepped up efforts to curb corruption as it pursues membership of the European Union (EU). The bloc sees the fight against corruption as a prerequisite for starting negotiations.
Recent investigation targets include billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky (close to President Volodymyr Zelensky) and the former head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Both deny wrongdoing.