Ukraine fired two senior cyber defense officials on Monday, according to a government official, while prosecutors announced an investigation into alleged embezzlement of funds at the government cybersecurity agency.
Yurii Shchyholhead of the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection of Ukraine (SSSCIP), and his deputy, Viktor Zhorawere fired by the Government, according to what the senior official wrote on Telegram Taras Melnychuk.
Melnychuk, the cabinet’s representative in parliament, did not mention the reasons for the dismissals. Neither those affected nor their lawyers could be reached for comment.
The SSSCIP is responsible for protecting government communications and defending the State from cyber attacks.
News of the firings came less than an hour before anti-corruption prosecutors said they were investigating the head and deputy head of the SSSCIP for their alleged involvement in a six-person plot to embezzle 62 million hryvnias ($1.72 million) between 2020 and 2022.
Authorities suspect that officials they bought software at an inflated price to two companies allegedly under his control in a sale that had been closed to other bidders, Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau said.
Prosecutors did not identify either officer. In a statement on Telegram, the SSSCIP said it was cooperating with investigators and that all of the agency’s procurement had been carried out legally.
Shchyhol wrote on Facebook that he was confident he could prove his innocence, Interfax Ukraine reported.
From 2020 to 2022, “the owner of a group of companies, in collusion with the leadership of the state special communications service of Ukraine, developed a plan to misappropriate budget funds allocated for the purchase of hardware and software,” the office stated. Kiev anti-fraud.
Dozens of officials have been dismissed since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, in an attempt by President Volodimir Zelensky to reassure his Western allies who are providing him with aid.
The fight against corruption is also one of the demands of the member countries of the European Union so that kyiv can enter the bloc.
Last week, the Ukrainian State Prosecutor’s Office charged treason to the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) Oleksandr Dubinskiwhich according to the public ministry was part of an influence network of Russian military intelligence (GRU) to discredit Ukraine in the eyes of Western public opinion.
The allegations brought against the deputy have also been confirmed by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the State Investigation Bureauthe other two bodies that have participated in the operation, which has also been directed against a former deputy and a prosecutor.
According to the SBU, Dubinski spread fake news about the alleged interference of senior Ukrainian officials in the US elections.
According to the accusation, other lies promoted in international public opinion by Dubisnki and his two accomplices also had the objective of discrediting the military and political leadership of kyiv before its Western allies.
(With information from Reuters, EFE and AFP)