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Government appoints new top cyber defense official

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 1, 2023 6:05 PM 1 min read
Yurii Myronenko, the new head of Ukraine's State Special Communications Service. (Ukrainian School of Political Studies/Facebook)
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The Ukrainian government appointed Yurii Myronenko as the new head of the State Special Communications Service after the previous chief was charged with embezzling public funds, the service announced on Dec. 1.

Before the appointment, Myronenko, a serviceman with a background in corporate management, commanded a drone unit fighting in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

After obtaining higher education in international economics and management, Myronenko started his career in banking, holding managerial positions in major Ukrainian banks.

Ukraine’s new top cyber defense official also has experience working in financial, transport, pharmaceutical, chemical, and energy industries.

In 2019, he joined the Territorial Defense Forces and was among those defending Kyiv at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Yurii Shchyhol, the former chief of the State Special Communications Service, along with his former deputy Viktor Zhora and four others, are suspected of embezzling Hr 62 million ($1.7 million) in state funds allocated for the purchase of equipment and software between 2020 and 2022.

Shchyhol was detained on Nov. 23 but released from custody on a Hr 25 million ($693,000) bail one day later. Zhora was detained on Nov. 27 for two months with bail set at $276,000.

Ukraine's High Anti-Corruption Court has ordered the seizure of cryptocurrencies totaling $1.5 million from Shchyhol.

The State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection is Ukraine's primary agency responsible for the national cyber security system and a part of the country's defense sector.

Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov has already assigned Myronenko to conduct an audit of the State Special Communications Service’s work.

Myronenko pledged to present a plan for the further development of the service soon.

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