The decree did not specify casualties or consequences, but speculation in Kiev on Monday that Mr Bakanov had been ousted over blatant intelligence failures in the early days of the war in the southern city of Kherson, which left the Russians almost without a fight. had taken a hit. Local officials in Kherson switched sides and explosives were removed from bridges around the city, opposition MP Ariev said.
At the end of March, Mr. Zelensky deprived two Generals of the Security Service from their ranks and called them traitors; one was in charge of the Kherson region and the other fled Ukraine on the eve of the invasion, only to be detained in Serbia months later on charges of trying to smuggle cash and emeralds into the country.
A non-party MP, Oleksiy Honcharenko, said of Mr Zelensky’s reference to “serious consequences,” “Translation: for Kherson’s surrender.”
The security agency, known by its Ukrainian initials SBU, is the country’s main internal security and intelligence authority, Ukraine’s successor to the Soviet-era KGB. Council – and has long faced calls for reform.
Business groups have said the agency shook up companies for bribes and that corrupt cops, who had been compromised and faced possible prosecution, became easy points for Russia’s recruitment.
“Surprise, surprise,” Serhiy Fursa, an analyst at Dragon Capital, a leading Ukrainian investment bank, wrote on Facebook about Mr. Zelensky of treason in the service. “What lesson has this war taught us? A corrupt man is Putin’s best friend.”
Reporting contributed by: Carlotta Gallo from Druzhkivka, Ukraine; Thomas Gibbons-Neff from Dubai; Natalia Yermak from Lviv, Ukraine; Maria Varenikova from Kyiv; and Marc Santora from London.