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Anna Babinets asks the Freedom of Speech Committee if Vitiuk's being in combat area can be confirmed

11.04.2024, 12:17

Freedom of Speech Committee meeting, April 10, 2024. Photo by Detector Media

The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech discussed the incident with Slidstvo.Info journalist Yevheniy Shulhat, who was targeted by an army recruitment office after his investigation into the fortunes of Illya Vitiuk, the SBU chief of cyber security.

The Committee discussion happened at a meeting on April 10, reports "Detector Media".

The speakers at the meeting included Slidstvo.Info chief editor Anastasia Stanko and the project's executive director Anna Babinets.

Anna Babinets asked how journalists can confirm if Illya Vitiuk is really in a combat area and overall monitor the progress of the investigation.

On her part, Anastasia Stanko asked the Committee to influence the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) and other authorities to open their own cases and verity the details reported by the journalists.

"Our investigation clearly showed that the market price of the apartment owned by the SBU chief of cyber security was drastically different from the price listed in the declaration. We have filed a request to the NACP, but at the moment we don't know whether the NACP has undertaken to verify this information. I would also like to appeal to the Committee, to the NACP and to other authorities and to ask them to open cases of their own and check the information, as the NACP and other bodies sometimes do following journalistic investigations. And to ask them to not just do something after we submit a request. At the moment, we don't even know if this is happening," Stanko said.

The chair of the Freedom of Speech Committee, Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, responded with a promise to personally contact the NACP and ask whether they have started looking into Illya Vitiuk's capital and the facts revealed in the journalistic investigation.

He also said that the Committee would try to influence the authorities investigating the incident of a journalist facing pressure so that they are as transparent as possible and declassify at least some information about the course of the investigation.

Commenting on Illya Vitiuk's transfer to a combat unit, Yaroslav Yurchyshyn said: "We lack one puzzle piece when it comes to the moment of his departure to the front line, and it saddens me greatly that the Security Service is not communicating this: whether it was a personal request from someone who has combat experience and is clearly needed at the front line, or an administrative decision. The former would be understandable, and the latter is ethically questionable. We are unlikely to receive information on whether the person is in a combat area, seeing as he will be in some army unit. I doubt that the Security Service would report such things even to our law enforcers upon request."

Earlier, Anna Babinets assumed that "Vitiuk's transfer the combat zone is an attempt to hide him from an official investigation."


On April 6, Slidstvo.Info reported that an SBU officer may have instructed an army staffing center to deliver a draft notice to their journalist. In this way, the special services wanted to punish the man for exposing the SBU head of cyber security Illya Vitiuk for owning elite real estate.

The Media Movement demands a police investigation into the SBU and the TSC officers in view of the incident with the Slidstvo.Info journalist.

On April 6, the UAF Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said that he had ordered an official inspection into the Slidstvo.Info report about an attempt to serve an army summons to their journalist following his investigation.

The SBU have said they were looking into the report by the Slidstvo.Info team about the the SBU allegedly using TSC officers to put pressure on journalist Yevheniy Shulhat following his investigation into the SBU's head of cyber security, Illya Vitiuk.

On April 8, 2024, the Prosecutor General's Office opened a case over the incident with summons delivery to journalist Yevheniy Shulhat.

On April 9, 2024, it was reported that Illya Vitiuk, chief of the SBU Department of Counterintelligence and National Information Security has been suspended from work by the SBU head Vasyl Maliuk for the time of the investigation into the incident reported by Slidstvo.Info.

The SBU head decided that while the investigation is ongoing, Vitiuk would serve in his Department's combat unit, which is carrying out defense tasks and taking direct action to destroy the enemy and their equipment at the front line together with the SBU's Special Operations Center "Alpha".

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