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10 May, 2024 07:49

Zelensky fires state security chief

The sacking of Major General Rud could be linked to an alleged plot to assassinate the Ukrainian leader, according to local media
Zelensky fires state security chief

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has dismissed Major General Sergey Rud as the head of the state guard service, according to the presidential website.

The move comes after two officers of the agency, tasked with protecting government bodies and senior officials, were detained over an alleged plot to assassinate the Ukrainian leader.

“Dismiss Sergey Rud from the post of head of the State Security Administration of Ukraine,” a decree by Zelensky, published on his website on Thursday, read. The reasons for the sacking of the guard chief, who had held the role since 2019, have not been announced.

The Strana.ua news website claimed that Rud’s dismissal was on the cards after the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), which is Kiev’s successor to the Soviet-era KGB, announced on Tuesday that two officers of the State Security Administration were allegedly part of a conspiracy to assassinate Zelensky, SBU chief Vasily Malyuk, military intelligence chief Kirill Budanov, and other top Ukrainian officials.

According to the SBU, the detained colonels have been working for Russia’s Security Service (FSB), leaking classified information to Moscow. They could face life in prison on charges of treason and preparing a terrorist attack.

The SBU did not disclose the identities of the two officers. Strana.ua named them as Andrey Guk and his colleague, with the surname Derkach.

The outlet reported on Friday, citing unnamed sources, that Ukrainian security agencies had harboured suspicions about Guk's activities for a long time, but that Rud was shielding his “close associate” from persecution.

The announcement of the alleged plot targeting Zelensky was made by Ukraine on the day when Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for his fifth term as Russia’s president.

Moscow has denied having any plans to assassinate the Ukrainian leader, with Kremlin press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, telling the journalists: “as you understand, the information coming from the SBU can hardly be perceived as accurate.”