Ukraine and Russia start a “shadow war”?

On the evening of the 17th local time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suddenly announced the dismissal of Ukraine’s Attorney General Venetiktova and State Security Director Bakanov. Although later on the 18th, the Ukrainian President’s Office clarified that it was not a “dismissal” but a “suspended investigation”, but this move has sparked a lot of speculation, especially when Zelensky announced the decision, he mentioned targeting “treason”. crime” investigation. The New York Times said that this brought a rare attention to the “shadow war” between Russia and Ukraine, although artillery and missiles are the hallmarks of war, but a secret battle is going on. Outside the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield, EU foreign ministers met on the 18th to discuss the seventh round of sanctions against Russia and announced that they would provide Ukraine with a fifth round of military aid of 500 million euros. The six rounds of sanctions that have been imposed have not crushed Russia as the West expected, but have created doubts and rifts within Europe. Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, had to refute criticism from “some European leaders” during the foreign ministers’ meeting. Krisas, chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament), mocked: “Borrell proposed to wait for the effect of sanctions against Russia to appear. Let them wait and see. We are waiting for the winter to come.”

Suspension related to Battle of Kherson?

Zelensky announced the decision in a televised speech on the evening of the 17th, which was described by Russia Today TV as a “dramatic statement”. He said it was doing so in response to a large number of treason investigations against law enforcement personnel, with 651 such cases, particularly more than 60 employees of the prosecutor’s office and the National Security Agency, “remaining in the occupied territories and working with Our country is against.” Zelensky said that such a series of crimes against the foundations of national security, as well as the documented links between Ukrainian security forces and Russian special forces, raise “very serious questions” for the heads of their respective agencies. He said further action would be taken.

The Times of Israel commented that this is the largest political reshuffle of the Akram government since Russia launched a special military operation against Ukraine in February. The Washington Post said the move underscores the distrust within Zelensky’s government as Ukraine prepares to face more Russian offensives. Qatar’s Al Jazeera reporter reported from Kyiv that it was unusual for Zelensky to make such a change. Before the war, his cabinet was like a revolving door. But since the war began, he has kept largely the same group of people around, including these two very senior figures.

The two senior officials who were “sacked” by Zelensky aroused interest from the outside world. According to The New York Times, The Washington Post and other media reports, Venediktova was a consultant to Zelensky and a member of his party. She was appointed attorney general in 2020, and she and her office have been investigating “probable Russian war crimes” since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Bachanov and Zelensky have a closer relationship. The two were not only childhood friends, but also worked together. The former was a director of a TV entertainment production company, and the latter was a comedian for the company.

Some analysts believe that Bakanov’s “dismissal” was related to the battle of Kherson. Ukrainian officials were quoted as saying by the U.S. Political News Network that the reason why the Russian army was able to occupy Kherson so easily was because the officials of the Ukrainian State Security Service there did not blow up the Antonovsky Bridge across the Dnieper River, which made Russia The army was able to enter the city smoothly. An article in Russia’s “Viewpoint” titled “Why Zelensky Began an Urgent Struggle with Traitors” said that because of the increasing number of Ukrainian defeats on the front line and Western claims that Ukraine has an arms trade, Zelens Fundamentally needs to get someone to come out and take responsibility. Shesler, the leader of the Ukrainian Political Immigration Union, said that the two were not through the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), but were directly dismissed by the president, indicating that the United States was directly involved in the decision-making.

Later on the 18th, the Ukrainian President’s Office issued a statement explaining that the Prosecutor General and the head of the National Security Service had been “suspended” rather than “dismissed” as earlier described. The investigation is still ongoing, and if there are specific charges against both of them, the president will recommend to the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) to remove them from office. According to CNN, Zelensky on the 18th appointed the first deputy director of the Ukrainian Security Service, Vasily, to “temporarily” lead the country’s intelligence agencies, and Deputy Attorney General Simonenko to lead the prosecutor’s office.

RIA Novosti reported that Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova commented on the change of the Ukrainian government with a mocking comment in Japanese: “Zelensky’s dismissal of the Prosecutor General and the head of the National Security Service shows the process of de-Nazification. in full swing.

Putin: It is impossible to erect a huge fence

The 27 EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on the 18th to discuss a seventh round of sanctions against Russia. The German “Daily Mirror” reported that the EU hopes to expand sanctions against Russia in the context of Russia’s increased attack on Ukraine. Discussions in Brussels are mainly about banning the import of Russian gold. According to Agence France-Presse, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba called on EU member states on the same day not to relax sanctions on Russia, nor to succumb to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demands.

A top EU representative said Monday’s discussions were not expected to result in a decision that day. However; European Council President Michel announced after consultation with foreign ministers of various countries that the EU will provide another 500 million euros for the supply of weapons and equipment to the Ukrainian army. This means that the EU’s military aid to Ukraine increased to 2.5 billion euros.

But in Europe, doubts are growing about sanctions against Russia, something EU foreign ministers will have to grapple with. Agence France-Presse said Hungarian Prime Minister Orban last week criticized Europe’s sanctions against Russia for hurting energy supplies. Borrell refuted this statement during the EU foreign ministers’ meeting on the 18th, saying: “Some European leaders have been saying that sanctions are a mistake, but I don’t think so.” He accused critics of “false information” about sanctions – Such as claims that the oil embargo caused oil prices to rise. “Borelli, European residents have felt the consequences of anti-Russian sanctions.” Zakharova mocked on social media platforms.

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