The Ukrainian president has resigned the head of the SBU offices in Kiev, Lviv and Ternopol.
President Vladimir Zelensky fired the heads of three regional offices of the nation's Security Service SBU Ukraine successor to the KGB on Monday. He dismissed the top official in the agency earlier in the day, citing widespread treason among agents.
The top security officials in the Kiev, Lviv, and Ternopol regions were fired by presidential decree. A new leader was immediately appointed to the Kiev office of the SBU, but replacements for the other two have yet to be revealed.
Zelensky's move seems to be a continuation of the crackdown on the SBU he launched in mid-July. He dismissed the head of the security agency, Ivan Bakanov, his deputy, and four regional SBU chiefs at the time. He also fired General Irina Venediktova, the Prosecutor General. Zelensky claimed that the shakeup was due to rampant treason under the leadership of the officials.
The US government, which has a strong support for the Ukrainian president, has publicly maintained its unwavering support for the Ukrainian president. But according to US media, White House officials have privately said there is growing mistrust in Washington over Zelensky's increasingly authoritarian rule.
It has not been uncommon for Ukrainian officials to question the loyalty of citizens amid the armed conflict with Russia. Nikolaev governor Vitaly Kim suggested he may place his region's capital on lockdown to conduct a Bolshevik-style purge of Russian sympathizers, saying he trusts no one.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by France and Germany, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has admitted that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and create powerful armed forces. In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked.