resident Volodymyr Zelensky has fired the head of security of Kharviv after claiming he was “only thinking of himself” and not doing enough to defend the city from the Russian invasion.
The Ukrainian leader, covered in body armour, made his first official visit outside of Kyiv in more than three months of the war to find Ukraine’s second-largest city still partly under Russian occupation.
Mr Zelensky visited Ukrainian fighters who pushed Russian forces back from nearby positions several weeks ago.
After returning, the president announced he had fired Kharviv’s security chief in a rare public dressing down.
“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,” Mr 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.”
Mr Zelensky noted that a third of the greater Kharkiv region, which lies close to the Russian border, was still under occupation.
He promised that Ukrainians “will definitely liberate the entire territory. And everyone at the local and state level should work for this”.
Mr Zelensky did not name the sacked security chief. But Ukrainian media identified him as Roman Dudin, who headed the SBU office in the Kharkiv region from March 25, 2020.
Hours after Mr Zelensky’s widely publicized visit to Kharkiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered more missile strikes in the region.