President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has ordered the acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Ivan Bakanov, to crack down on smuggling and report back with feasible results in two weeks.
"We are not talking about our personal relations but about a very serious responsibility to the people of Ukraine. You are the acting chairman of the SBU. I want you to be not only respected by me as a friend but also by the people of Ukraine. We have very little time to reboot the Security Service of Ukraine. We need real criminal cases. We need to deal with smuggling," Zelenskyy said at a meeting with Bakanov.
He noted that employees of the SBU "must prove that they are not only specialists but also decent people". Therefore, it is important that they work "regardless of the president’s name".
"There is a big demand for justice. We need to show the public that the SBU really works. I want the whole world to see that we started building Ukraine from scratch," the president said.
For his part, Bakanov noted that smuggling and the shadow economy must be overcome. "The SBU will do everything possible to fulfill your instructions as soon as possible," he said, adding that "he will strive to cultivate human values in the SBU".
"We always told each other the truth and did not allow others to tell lies. We never stole, did not allow others to steal and always remained human. It seems to me that such values should be the priority of the SBU. Under any circumstances, we must remain human," Bakanov added.
Bakanov, Zelenskyy's long-time friend, the director of Kvartal-95 Studio Ltd and Kvartal 95 Ltd, was appointed the first deputy head of the SBU on 22 May. He was also put in charge of the main department for fighting corruption and organized crime at the SBU central office.