Ensuring security in Ukraine in its broadest sense is the major priority of the state today, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at the wrap-up meeting of the board of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) held in Kyiv.
"Ukraine's security has a broad sense. These are protected borders, protected critical infrastructure, protected economic and energy independence," the President said, delivering his speech.
According to the President, citizens and the state must be protected from terrorist attacks and be free from enemy propaganda.
"This is the most pressing request of each of us, our society. This and much more is under my personal control thanks to you, the key people who are fighting for our independence every day. This is a key task for each of us," Zelenskyy said.
Reviewing the achievement of the year, the President said that the Security Service of Ukraine has finally ceased to be a nightmare for business, and this was noted by a representative of the Business Ombudsman Council, and "became a nightmare for traitors, separatists, smugglers" and other thieves who were sanctioned under the decisions of the National Security and Defense Council.
"In this regard, I would like to thank you for the important information and proposals for the National Security and Defense Council meetings. We have done many important things to protect our security, which should have been done in 2014," Zelenskyy said.
According to the Head of State, changes in the activities of the SBU are noticed not only by Ukrainian society, but also by international partners.
"This transformation is the logical beginning of change. Despite optimizing the structure and reducing some functions of the SBU, it is important for us that the best personnel remain in the ranks of the SBU," the President said, adding that there will be a lot of work in the sphere of security in 2022.
Zelenskyy called the protection of national interests and statehood, resisting Russian aggression and hybrid war, protection of critical infrastructure, and counterintelligence among the most important tasks for next year.
The second important area, according to Zelenskyy, is the fight against terrorism in all its manifestations.
The third area is cybersecurity, in particular the protection of information resources of the state and blocking the impact of propaganda.
"These are strong destabilizing factors that will be used both from outside and, unfortunately, inside our country. I count on your successful counteraction to them in both directions," the President said.
At the same time, he expressed his conviction that officers of the Security Service of Ukraine have enough experience, skills and abilities to successfully perform all tasks.
"After all, you understand perfectly well what the interests of the state are and why they should be protected under any circumstances," Zelenskyy said, addressing the SBU staff, and thanked them for their service.
The President also presented SBU officers with state awards and certificates for receiving apartments.
For his part, Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov said that in 2021 the SBU, in cooperation with representatives of other law enforcement agencies, successfully dealt with key threats to national security. In particular, these are large-scale military exercises at the border, elections to the Russian authorities in the occupied territories of Ukraine, the migration crisis on the border between Belarus and the EU, cyber attacks on the authorities and special information campaigns against our country.
"It was a year of systemic protection of the state's interests. The SBU has become an effective tool in the work of the National Security and Defense Council. We coordinated and effectively countered the hybrid war, destabilization, and worked to preserve the country's economic potential," Bakanov said.
At the same time, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine said that the hybrid war is becoming more intense and taking on new forms, as the Russian intelligence agencies have strengthened the units working against Ukraine technically and with personnel. Thus, their sabotage and recruitment activity will increase.
"The role of the Security Service in preserving Ukrainian statehood is growing. State security and internal stability in the country depend on a modern and competent intelligence agency," Bakanov said.