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Ukrainian lawmakers vote to dismiss prosecutor general and security chief

#Ukrainian #lawmakers #vote #dismiss #prosecutor #general #security #chief

Ukrainian lawmakers on Tuesday approved the president’s decision to sack the country’s chief prosecutor and security chief, marking Ukraine’s biggest political convulsion since Russia invaded.

The overhaul was confirmed when Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran with his Turkish counterpart to discuss a possible deal to unblock Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain.

Several Ukrainian lawmakers, writing on social media at the parliamentary session in Kyiv, said lawmakers overwhelmingly backed President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s shock call for the officials to be removed.

“Parliament voted to sack Iryna Venediktova as Attorney General,” said David Arakhamia, a lawmaker linked to Zelensky. Other MPs said the plea to remove security chief Ivan Bakanov received the required 226 votes.

Zelensky asked Parliament to approve the dismissals less than 48 hours after announcing late Sunday that he would be suspending the top law enforcement officials and that 650 cases of alleged treason were being investigated.

He replaced Bakanov on Monday and described the shock in the security services as a “test” and said 28 security officers face layoffs.

“Different levels, different directions. But the reasons are similar – unsatisfactory work performance,” Zelenskyj said.

Venediktova, who regularly met with colleagues from EU countries and the United States, wrote on social media on Monday that she “can be proud of her post and has shown good results”.

– Tehran Summit –

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who arrived in Tehran on Monday, were due to meet in the Iranian capital on Tuesday to discuss mechanisms for exporting grain from Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Russian and Ukrainian delegations will meet in Istanbul along with Turkish and UN officials, amid rising hopes of an announced deal.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned this week that the grain impasse was “a matter of life and death for many people”.

NATO member Turkey has used its good relations with both the Kremlin and Kyiv to try to broker an agreement on a secure way of delivering grain.

Along the Black Sea coast, Kyiv said on Tuesday Russian forces battered the southern and coastal region of Odessa with a barrage of seven cruise missiles, injuring at least six people, including a child.

“One (rocket) was shot down by the air defenses. Six hit a village. As a result, several residential buildings and other facilities were destroyed and caught fire,” the Ukrainian Presidency said.

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed the attacks on Odessa destroyed a stockpile of weapons supplied by the West.

– Kramatorsk shelled –

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier this week ordered Russian troops to give priority to destroying Ukraine’s long-range artillery supplied by the United States and other western allies.

Observers credit the weapons with changing battlefield dynamics, giving Ukraine the opportunity to hit Russian weapons depots and command posts deep inside Moscow-controlled territory.

However, the heaviest fighting in recent weeks did not take place in the south, but in the eastern Donbass region of Ukraine.

Kramatorsk, one of the last remaining Donbass cities under Ukrainian control, was hit by Russian strikes on Tuesday, AFP journalists said.

The head of the region, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said one person was killed and circulated video of the attack showing flames leaping from inside an apartment building.

AFP journalists said a four-story apartment building was hit and saw panicked neighbors who subsequently sought medical attention from rescue workers.

A man with a bloody head lay on the ground before being taken away by rescue workers.

“He just walked by and got hit,” said a woman who declined to give her name, visibly shaken by the bombing.

In the city of Torezk, not far from Kramatorsk, with a population of around 30,000, six people died in Russian strikes on Monday.

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#Ukrainian #lawmakers #vote #dismiss #prosecutor #general #security #chief

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