Kyiv, 21 March 2014 – Former Head of the Counterintelligence Office of the Security Service of Ukraine, President of the Ukrainian National Security Support Foundation, Oleksandr Skybinetskyi said that the Ukrainian national security services need to change the way they cooperate with Russia’s security agencies. “Ukrainian security services have always adhered to the principle of camaraderie as they interacted with their Russian counterparts. Unfortunately, our partners in Russia haven’t always been open to us. Development of the operation that took place in Crimea is the work of several months, if not years. Even before Crimea, there had been several acts on the part of Russia but they were all played down for the sake of preserving the camaraderie principle. It is time we abandoned this flawed policy.” According to Mr. Skybinetskyi, the first steps have already been taken – the Security Service of Ukraine has enhanced its counterintelligence operations and has already arrested some Russian intelligence groups.
Mr. Skybinetskyi also noted that refusal to cooperate with Russia’s security agencies will be beneficial to the new Ukrainian government. According to him, intelligence is not only about collecting information, but it also has certain impact on governmental decision making. “People who have been running the security agencies for several years have certainly been acting as Russia’s agents of influence. Most of the appointments to the security services were not based on professional experience but were rather driven by personal or political reasons. Now the whole system is in urgent need of reforming and proper appointments.” Oleksandr Skybinetskyi believes that unsound staffing policy has spoiled the security services and lead to corruption. “Security services were viewed as a tool to influence some other agencies.”
To improve the security agencies, Mr. Skybynetskyi suggested reforming them, adding that every appointment should be verified by a specialized commission similar to the one that existed in the early 90’s. “Staffing should run in parallel to the work of the security institutions, but one should keep in mind that reforming a single agency is impossible – the whole system needs to be handled.”
Oleksandr Skybinetskyi also emphasized that reforming of the Security Service of Ukraine and other security and law enforcement agencies does not mean cutting their funding. “Payroll and technology expenses cannot be cut.”
Oleksandr Skybinetskyi is a Lieutenant General, president of the Ukrainian National Security Support Foundation, head of the Counterintelligence Office of the State Security Service of Ukraine (1993-1995), former First Deputy Head of the State Security Service, Member of Ukrainian Parliament during the 5th and 6th convocations.