Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova spoke about her dismissal in an interview with the US news channel CNN. In her opinion, it is “perhaps now time for the Attorney General’s Office to be managed with different perspectives”.
Criticism of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy could resonate between the lines, although she then expressly stated that she could not express herself critically towards him. Ukrainian political experts had suspected a power struggle within the authorities in their dismissal.
“The post of Attorney General in Ukraine is a political office,” the 43-year-old explained her dismissal. It’s a political decision. She evaded further inquiries from the CNN journalist. However, observers suspect Venediktova’s dismissal as an attempt by the head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, to strengthen his influence in the Ukrainian power apparatus. Her successor, Oleksiy Symonenko, is said to be close to Yermak.
Venediktova was dismissed by the Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday, as several MPs announced via their Telegram channels. Accordingly, 264 parliamentarians voted for the dismissal of the Attorney General. At least 226 votes were required for this. A total of 423 MPs currently sit in Parliament. The head of the domestic secret service, Ivan Bakanov, was also dismissed, and 265 deputies voted in favour.
Following the decision, the deposed Attorney General tweeted that she would “keep working for Ukraine.” “I thank international partners for their unprecedented support to Ukraine on the justice front, particularly in the investigation of Russian war crimes.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had only temporarily relieved the country’s top prosecutor of her posts. The background to this are numerous suspected cases of treason by members of the Ukrainian judicial and security apparatus.
Venediktova defended her team in an interview with CNN and located the traitors and collaborators “only in occupied territories”. The Attorney General’s Office is currently investigating more than 23,000 cases involving possible war crimes or crimes related to Russian aggression.