Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelensky dismisses the general prosecutor and the head of security
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sacked the country’s chief prosecutor and security service chief on suspicion of treason by some of their subordinates to benefit the Russians, as a meeting of the EU to tighten sanctions against Moscow.
” I have made the decision to relieve the Attorney General of their duties. Iryna Venediktova, “ and the head of the security services Ivan Bakanov, Mr. Zelensky said on Sunday evening, as Russia continues its bombardment of several Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainian authorities are investigating more than 650 cases of suspected treason by local officials, including 60 in areas occupied by Russian and pro-Russian forces, he added in his evening address.
” So many crimes against the foundations of national security and the links established between Ukrainian law enforcement officials and Russian special services raise very serious questions for the leaders concerned. Each of these questions will be answered “, he continued.
Ms. Venediktova notably led the investigation into the alleged atrocities committed at the start of the invasion by Russian forces in the town of Boutcha, a suburb north-west of kyiv, which in the eyes of the West has become a symbol of ” war crimes Russians in Ukraine.
On Monday, European Union foreign ministers will discuss in Brussels a toughening of sanctions against Moscow, the successive salvos adopted so far having isolated and hit Russia hard economically, without causing it to back down or give up its invasion launched on 24 February.
They must consider two European Commission proposals to ban gold purchases from Russia to bring EU sanctions in line with those of its G7 partners, and to blacklist new Russian figures of the EU.
” Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression “, declared Friday the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, after having transmitted the new measures to the Twenty-Seven.
The Russian army has already lost 50,000 men, dead or wounded, and thousands of armored vehicles, according to the Chief of the British Defense Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin, or ” more than 30% of its effectiveness in land combat “.
However, “ the challenge posed by Russia will last “, he warned, pointing out that betting on a health problem of Vladimir Putin or “ that he ends up being murdered » came under the « wishful thinking “.
The master of the Kremlin claimed earlier this month that the Russian military had “no not started the serious things yet “, and his Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu ordered last week to “ further increase » military pressure.
Barely three days after cruise missile strikes that devastated the center of Vinnytsia, hundreds of kilometers from the front, killing at least 24 people, including children, and prompting the European Union to denounce ‘a ” barbaric behavior the shelling continues.
Russia announced on Saturday that it has officially ended the “ operational pause of his army decreed eight days ago, and the bombardments have resumed with more intensity in the Donbass (east), whose total control is Moscow’s main short-term objective.
Donetsk, one of the two provinces of Donbass, was targeted by “ the Russians (who) continue to bomb civilian infrastructure, especially educational institutions said the region’s governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko.
Pro-Russian separatists who have held part of the same region since 2014 have accused Ukrainian forces of firing 60 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at a district of the city of Donetsk.
” Apartment buildings were affected “, they said, publishing images of buildings reduced to ruins, without mentioning any victims.
In the northeast, missiles struck overnight from Saturday to Sunday Kharkiv, the country’s second city, near the Russian border.
Other strikes targeted Mykolaiv, a southern city near the Black Sea, and villages in the region, according to Vitaliy Kim, the local governor.
On the night of Sunday to Monday, the mayor of this city, Oleksandr Senkevych, wrote on Telegram: “ Another massive bombardment of Mykolaiv. Loud explosions are heard. About 10 have been heard so far “.
Arrest of a Russian journalist
President Zelensky also again criticized on Sunday the Canadian decision, taken last week, to allow the return to Europe of turbines repaired in Canada and intended for the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream.
He said he told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom he spoke to on the phone during the day, that the Ukrainians would never accept this decision, which he said violates the sanctions regime against Russia.
” It is a question of compliance with sanctions. If there’s a breach now, it won’t be long before there’s more added the president, accusing Russia of practicing gas blackmail and pointing out that there were other ways of bringing Russian gas to Europe.
In Russia, Russian journalist Marina Ovsiannikova, who became famous after appearing live on television with a sign criticizing Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, was arrested on Sunday, her entourage and her lawyer said.
No official statement has been made on the reasons for her arrest, but it comes a few days after Ms. Ovsiannikova demonstrated alone near the Kremlin, brandishing a sign criticizing the military intervention in Ukraine and President Putin.
The war in Ukraine will enter its sixth month on July 24 and there is no overall civilian death toll from the conflict so far.
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