Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in an unprecedented sign of internal turmoil, called two generals “traitors” and “anti-heroes” as he stripped them of their military rank this week.
Andriy Naumov, former chief of internal security for the Security Service of Ukraine and Serhiy Kryvoruchko, former head of the Office of Security Service, were sacked by the president. Zelenskyy accused both of dereliction in their duty to protect the nation’s “freedom and independence,” but did not provide further details. Counterintelligence is one of the chief responsibilities of the Ukrainian Security Service.
The Wall Street Journal reports Kryvoruchko led the security service in the Kherson region, which Russian forces overran early in the invasion with little military resistance. Brig. Gen. Naumov reportedly fled the country shortly after Russian forces invaded in February.
Zelenskyy warned that officers who do not know “where their homeland is” will be stripped of their military ranks. He added that he does not have time now to deal with all traitors, “but gradually they will all be punished.”
The announcement was the first time since the invasion began that Ukraine has announced discharging military officials involved in the country’s defense.
The president lauded battlefield victories while cautioning that Russian troops are leaving areas of fierce resistance to concentrate on others that are also very important. Zelenskyy added, “on those where it can be difficult for us.”
Even as Russian forces withdraw from the region around Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, Zelenskyy said Saturday that the situation is “catastrophic” for civilians.
The most recent news from the war is that defensive forces have regained full control of Kyiv as of Saturday, according to Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar.
That Zelenskyy faced possible treason from two generals is surprising and in opposition to constant reporting from Western media. Whether it’s poor planning, faulty logistical support and intelligence reports or even dissension among those closest to President Vladimir Putin, these contrast with — up until now — the reporting of Ukraine’s valiant and cohesive defense.