International Desk, May 30 (EFE).- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired the security chief in Kharkiv for not doing enough to defend the northeastern city since the Russian invasion began on Feb.24.
Zelensky visited Kharkiv on Sunday wearing a bullet-proof vest to assess the situation in the second-largest Ukrainian city where Russian bombings have left many buildings destroyed.
The president chaired a working meeting on the situation in the Kharkiv region and its capital with the same name.
After returning from his first official visit outside Kyiv in more than three months of the war, the president announced he had fired its security chief in a rare public rebuke.
“I figured out the situation. I fired the head of the SBU office in the region because he was not working to defend the city from the first days of the full-scale war,” Zelensky said in a video message on his Telegram channel.
“He was only thinking about himself. Law enforcement officers will find out what his motives were.”
Zelensky noted that a third of the Kharkiv region was still under occupation.
He vowed that the Ukrainians “will definitely liberate the entire territory. And everyone at the local and state level should work for this.”
Zelensky did not name the sacked security chief. But local media identified him as Roman Dudin, who headed the SBU office in the Kharkiv region from Mar.25, 2020.
Kharkiv is close to the border with Russia and is one of the Ukrainian cities hardest hit by Russian missiles, with neighborhoods in ruins.
Many of the nearly two million city residents have fled their homes.
He said Kharkiv suffered ruinous strikes from the Russians.
“The windows of black, burnt-out, half-ruined buildings face the east and north – from where Russians fired artillery, from where Russian combat aircraft arrived,” the president said.
He said the ruins now faced the Russians, and “in them now, like in a mirror, the Russian state can see itself.”
“It can see how much it has lost over these 95 days of the full-scale war against Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
He said Russia did not just lose battles in Kharkiv, Kyiv, and northern Ukraine but lost its future and any cultural ties with the world. “They are all burned down, including there, in Saltivka.”
Meanwhile, Russian forces have tightened their grip on key cities in the Donbas region.
The Ukrainian president admitted that in Donbas, “Russia got too close, gathered too many forces and was too prepared for the offensive there.”
He said the Russian attacks in Severodonetsk meant that all critical infrastructure in the city was destroyed, with 90 percent of houses damaged.
“More than two-thirds of the city’s homes have been completely destroyed. There is no mobile connectivity.” EFE