Security Service of Ukraine

Security Service of Ukraine

The Security Service of Ukraine ( _ua. Служба безпеки України (СБУ); "Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrayiny", or SBU) is Ukraine's main government security agency.

The SBU is responsible for state security (including secret police tasks), counterintelligence (including inside the Armed forces), fighting terrorism, smuggling, illegal trading of restricted substances (WMD material) and personal security of the President, Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council), other important figures and institutions (see Politics of Ukraine).


The SBU is a successor of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic's Branch of the Soviet KGB, keeping the majority of its 1990s personnel. Since 1992, the agency has been competing in intelligence functions with the intelligence branch of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Despite this, a former Military Intelligence Chief and career GRU technological espionage expert, Ihor Smeshko, served as an SBU chief until 2005.

In 2004, the SBU's Intelligence Department was reorganized into an independent agency called Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine. It is responsible for all kinds of intelligence as well as for external security. As of 2004, the exact functions of the new service, and respective responsibilities of Military Intelligence, were not regulated yet.

Several years ago, the SBU subsumed the State Directorate of Personal Protection of Ukraine ( _uk. Управління державної охорони України), the personal protection agency for the most senior government officials, which was the former Ninth Directorate of the Ukrainian KGB.

Directors of The SBU

* Yevhen Kyrylovych Marchuk, November 1991 - July 1994
* Valeriy Vasyliovych Malikov, July 1994 - July 1995
* Volodymyr Ivanovych Radchenko, July 1995 - April 1998
* Leonid Vasyliovych Derkach, April 1998 - February 2001
* Volodymyr Ivanovych Radchenko, February 2001 - September 2003
* Igor Petrovych Smeshko, September 2003 - February 2005
* Oleksandr Valentynovych Turchynov, February 2005 - September 2005
* Ihor Vasylovych Drizhchany, September 8, 2005 - December 2006

BU's transgression of the law

SBU's State Directorate of Personal Protection is known for its former Major Mykola Mel'nychenko, the communications protection agent in President Leonid Kuchma's bodyguard team. Mel'nychenko was the central figure of the Cassette Scandal (2000) — one of the main events in Ukraine's post-independence history. SBU became involved in the case when Mel'nychenko accused Leonid Derkach, SBU Chief at the time, of several crimes, e.g. of clandestine relations with Russian mafia leader Semyon Mogilevich. However, the UDO was subsumed into the SBU after the scandal, so Mel'nychenko himself has never been an SBU agent.

Later, SBU played a significant role in the investigation of the Georgiy Gongadze murder case, the crime that caused the Cassette Scandal itself.

In 2004, General Valeriy Kravchenko, SBU's intelligence representative in Germany, publicly accused his agency of political involvement, including overseas spying on Ukrainian opposition politicians and German TV journalists. He was fired without returning home. After a half-year of hiding in Germany, Kravchenko has returned to Ukraine and surrendered in October 2004 (an investigation is underway).

Later, the agency commanders became involved in the scandal around the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko—a main candidate in the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election. Yushchenko felt unwell soon after supper with SBU Chief Ihor Smeshko, at the home of Smeshko's first deputy. However, neither the politician himself nor the investigators have ever directly accused these officers. It is also important to note that the Personal Protection department has been officially responsible for Yushchenko's personal security since he became a candidate. During the Orange Revolution, several SBU veterans and cadets publicly supported him as president-elect, while the agency as a whole remained neutral.

In 2005, soon after the elections, sacked SBU Chief Smeshko and other intelligence agents raised their own version of the revolution events. According to that version, they have prevented militsiya from violent oppression of the protests, contradicting the orders of President Kuchma and threatening "militsiya" with armed involvement of SBU's special forces units. This story was first described by the American journalist K.J.Chivers of New York Times and has never been supported documentally or legally.

Analysts agree that SBU is relatively free of political involvement compared to the Ukrainian militsiya, which is considered to be mainly responsible for persecution of opposition activists and ignoring crimes against them. However, the SBU is widely suspected of illegal surveillance and eavesdropping of offices and phones.

An episode of human rights abuse by SBU happened during the case of Ukraine serial killer, Anatoly Onoprienko. Yuriy Mozola, an initial suspect in the investigation, died in SBU custody in Lviv as a result of torture. Several agents were convicted in the case.

External links

* [ SBU's Official web site] uk icon
* [ SBU's Official web site] en icon
* [ Gongadze Case Investigation] uk icon
* [ Igor Drizhchany's Complex Inheritance] en icon

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