Head of SBU’s cybersecurity reassigned to frontline after investigative report exposes property discrepancies | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

In a significant development within Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU), Vasyl Maliuk, the chief of the SBU, has temporarily suspended Illia Vitiuk, the head of the Department of Counterintelligence Protection of State Interests in the Field of Information Security. This decision came after an investigative report by “Slidstvo-Info” journalists revealed a substantial discrepancy in the property declaration of Vitiuk’s wife, raising questions about the source of their wealth.

The report uncovered that Vitiuk’s wife had acquired a luxurious apartment in December 2023, valued at over 20 million hryvnias in the market, while the official declaration stated a purchase price of only 12.8 million hryvnias. This revelation prompted the SBU to take immediate action, leading to Vitiuk’s suspension and reassignment to a combat unit directly engaged in frontline operations.

Further complicating the matter, an attempt was made to issue a draft summons to Yevhen Shulga, the journalist from “Slidstvo.Info” who was involved in the investigation. This move was widely criticized and perceived as an attempt to intimidate and silence the press. In response, the SBU, along with the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, announced a joint investigation into the incident, emphasizing their commitment to transparency and the protection of journalistic freedom.

As a result of the incident, the head of the Solomyansky Territorial Recruitment and Social Support Center in Kyiv, involved in the attempt to issue the draft summons, has been demoted and reassigned to a lower position within one of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ combat units. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces told this to the journalists of the Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda.

The controversy began when journalist Yevhen Shulhat received a draft summons, seemingly as punishment for his investigative work on the illicit real estate dealings of Illia Vitiuk. The incident has sparked widespread concern among media organizations and prompted an official inquiry to ascertain if there was any abuse of power or obstruction of journalistic activities by SBU employees or those at the mobilization center.

This development has attracted attention from media organizations, including Mediarukh (Media Movement), a coalition of Ukrainian media outlets, which demanded a prompt investigation and justice for the targeted journalist, Yevhen Shulhat. “Such actions indicate the SBU’s attempt to use its official position to obstruct the activities of a journalist who covered facts potentially inconvenient for the SBU leadership,” the statement of the organisation reads.

This situation has led to a broader examination of the relationship between the military and the media, with the Ministry of Defense expressing its disapproval of any pressure on journalists and emphasizing the importance of journalism in a democratic society. The investigation aimed to ensure transparency.

This series of events underscores the journalists’ contribution in ensuring transparency and accountability within Ukraine’s security services, as well as the role of investigative journalism in holding public officials to account. The ongoing journalistic investigation aims to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the property purchase and the attempted intimidation of journalists, reaffirming Ukraine’s commitment to upholding the principles of open governance and freedom of the press.


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