Vasyl Maliuk, Head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), has officially commented on the surveillance of journalists from Bihus.Info by the employees of the Department for the Protection of National Statehood of the SSU. He said that the head of the department within the Security Service of Ukraine has been dismissed.
Source: Ukraine’s Security Service
Quote: “I emphasise that such actions (by individual employees of the Department for the Protection of National Statehood of the SSU) are unacceptable and have already led to a series of personnel decisions. Among other things, I have submitted a request to dismiss the head of the Department for the Protection of National Statehood of the SSU, and the president of Ukraine signed the corresponding decree on 31 January.”
Details: Maliuk said that the actions of certain department employees have triggered genuine outrage. He noted that, unfortunately, the measures taken to combat organised crime not only led to obtaining information about the involvement of one of the operators of the editorial office in drug distribution, but involved the public dissemination of these video materials.
Quote: “My position is unequivocal – the actions of individual employees cannot negate all the positive results that the SSU has achieved during the war, and cast a shadow on every representative of the Service: both those who fight the enemy within the country and those comrades-in-arms from the SSU who sacrifice their lives on the battlefield for the sake of Ukraine. There must be consequences for any unlawful actions.”
On 16 January, a video was leaked on the Internet showing Bihus.Info employees allegedly using narcotic substances. Project manager Denys Bihus released a video with an explanation and assured the public that everyone who works for Bihus.Info will be drug-tested.
On 5 February, investigative journalists from the Bihus.Info project claimed to have identified those who had installed hidden cameras in hotel rooms to conduct surveillance of its editorial board. They were members of the SSU.
On 31 January, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed Roman Semenchenko, the head of the Department for the Protection of National Statehood of the SSU.
The SSU stated on 5 February that the leadership had made some “decisions” concerning the personnel of the Department for the Protection of National Statehood after the release of the investigation by the Bihus.Info project about illegal surveillance of its journalists.
On 6 February, members of parliament voted to summon the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Maliuk, to the Verkhovna Rada (the parliament) for a report regarding the wiretapping of Bihus.Info journalists.
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