2 July. – The Ukrainian parliament by 340 votes approved the appointment of colonel general Vasily Hrytsak to head the Security Service of Ukraine. The motion was tabled by President Petro Poroshenko the day before.
Since March 2010, Hrytsak had been Poroshenko’s head of security. And when his boss became the President of Ukraine in July 2014, he moved to head the Security Service’s Anti-Terrorist Centre.
His last-year appointment raised hope among the Ukrainian leadership that the conflict in Eastern Ukraine could be resolved. Seemingly, police operations, with search, prevention and neutralisation of Russian and pro-Russian forces, were supposed to replace an military phase.
But nothing like this has ever happened and the new head of the Security Service has to be partly blamed for this, former chief of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service Nikolay Malomuzh said in an interview with a radio station in Kiev. He pointed out a string of tragic failures, including Ilovaisk, Donetsk airport, Debaltseve as well as acts of sabotage in Harkiv and Odessa.
This is because anti-terrorist work is not what he does best. Hrytsak is believed to be a corruption fighter. Since 2009, he had been deputy chairman of the Security Service and head of the K department that deals with corruption and organised crime. Moreover, the official reason behind his appointment is that he has experience and skills in fight against corruption. “Now we have to demonstrate that the President and the parliament did not make a mistake; and we will establish efficient cooperation that will enable us to overcome such shameful manifestations like massive contraband and corruption,” Poroshenko said.
He was followed by Odessa region governor Mikhail Saakashvili. “I had a thorough conversation with the general and, to my view, he understands the Security Service has to be cleaned up and reformed and the fundamental threat to the survival of Ukraine as a country is all-spoiling corruption,” he said.
Only the Self-Reliance Party did not support the appointment of Hrytsak because they found his assets declaration unsatisfactory. According to deputy Yegor Sobolev (cited by the Vesti website), “they cannot accept Hrytsak’s passion for luxurious lifestyle.” Independent deputy Vitaly Kupriy was the only deputy who voted against the motion. However, he is a well-known antagonist of the President and the Petro Poroshenko Bloc.