After the Ukrainian secret service chief Bakanov had to vacate his post, President Zelenskyj announced further layoffs at the SBU. In Ukraine itself, Russian units are bombing towns in the north-east and south of the country. Meanwhile, the EU has criticized Hungary's course in Russia policy.
Selenskyj dismisses more secret service agents
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has announced the dismissal of 28 employees of the Ukrainian secret service SBU. It's about posts and functions of different levels, "but the reasons are similar: unsatisfactory work results," said Zelenskyj in a video speech. The day before he had already suspended his secret service chief and childhood friend Ivan Bakanov and the Attorney General Iryna Venediktova. Now Zelenskyj promised a revision of the entire work of the secret service.
The Ukrainian President recently expressed his anger at the fact that more than 60 employees of the SBU and the General Prosecutor's Office remained in the occupied territories. Kyiv sees this as high treason. However, the media also pointed out that the 47-year-old Bakanov, as a non-specialist, enjoyed little authority among his employees.
Ukraine says thank you for US arms
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy's wife, Olena Zelenska, met Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the United States on Monday. Ukraine's first lady plans to ask for more help before Congress on Wednesday. The US is the largest arms supplier to Ukraine. The Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Monday thanked the Chief of Staff of the US Armed Forces Mark Milley for the delivery of the HIMARS rocket launchers. These would have helped to stabilize the situation at the front.
Heavy bombardment in north-east and south
Russian forces continued to bomb cities in Ukraine overnight, according to Ukrainian sources. More than 150 bombs and grenades were fired at the Sumy region in the north-east of the country, wrote Dmytro Schywytzki, head of the region's military administration at Telegram. "They fired mortars, cannon and rocket artillery. The Russians also opened fire with machine guns and mortars."
The city of Mykolaiv in the south is also under fire from cluster missiles, the city's mayor, Oleksandr Senkevych, said. At least two people were injured, windows and roofs of private houses were damaged. In Odessa, at least four people were injured in a Russian rocket attack and houses were burned down, a spokesman for the regional administration reported on Telegram.
Criticism of Hungary's Russia policy
However, the EU's sanctions policy against Russia is once again fueling discussions within the international community. At a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell clearly criticized publicly expressed doubts about the EU's course. At the same time, he made it clear that he believes the EU will stick to its policy. A seventh package of sanctions, including a gold embargo against Russia, is supposed to be approved this week. The next few days will show whether this will work.
Hungary's Prime Minister Orban had recently voiced clear criticism of the EU's sanctions policy - although the sanctions can only be decided unanimously, i.e. only with Hungarian support. At first he still believed that they had only "shot themselves in the foot", but now it is clear that it was a shot in the lungs of the European economy, which is now struggling for air everywhere, Orban said on Hungarian radio on Friday.
House of Representatives votes for Finland and Sweden to join NATO
The US House of Representatives supports Finland and Sweden joining NATO. The MPs voted 394 to 18 for a corresponding resolution. In it they express their support for the "historic decision" of Finland and Sweden and call on all NATO members to ratify the accession protocols without delay. Two months ago, Finland and Sweden applied to join the Western Defense Alliance after the Russian attack on Ukraine. According to information from Stockholm, half of the NATO countries have already agreed to the accession of Sweden and Finland. Particular attention is now being paid to how the ratification process is progressing in Turkey.
Russian authorities put pressure on war critics
Meanwhile, the Russian authorities are cracking down on criticism of the war in their own country. According to civil rights activist Pavel Chikov, the Interior Ministry, the investigative committee and the FSB secret service have meanwhile opened 200 criminal proceedings against opponents of the war. In many cases, the controversial fake law that was passed in summary proceedings in March serves as the basis for criminal prosecution. Overall, however, the authorities resort to 22 different paragraphs to suppress criticism of the war, which in Moscow can only be called a "special military operation".
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You can read all further developments in our live ticker on the Ukraine war.