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Oleksiy Danilov, the National Security and Defense Council's secretary, speaks with the Kyiv Independent on Jan. 30, 2023. (Danilo Pavlov)
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Editor's note: This is a breaking story and will continue to be updated.

President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov on March 26.

The decision was announced on the Presidential Office’s official website.

Danilov has served in the position since Oct. 3, 2019, shortly after the beginning of Zelensky's term in office.

"I am grateful to fate for giving me the opportunity to serve my country and my people in times of peace and war! I thank Ukraine's president for his trust," Danilov wrote on Facebook, without revealing the reasons for his dismissal.

In the 1990s, Danilov was the mayor of now occupied Luhansk and later became the Luhansk Oblast governor. In 2006, he was elected to Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, as a member of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc.

The National Security and Defense Council is a body that coordinates and controls the activities of executive authorities in the field of Ukraine's national security and defense, and its decisions are enacted by presidential decrees.

Since 2021, the National Security and Defense Council has been actively used as a tool for imposing sanctions. For over three years, this list has included hundreds of entities and individuals, including a number of high-profile pro-Kremlin Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians.

One of the controversial initiatives of the National Security and Defense Council during Danilov's tenure was the national register of oligarchs. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law in 2021 that established the legal definition of an oligarch, in order to list these individuals and limit their influence.

In late September 2023, the government decided to postpone the launch of the register of oligarchs until three months after the end of martial law following the recommendations of the Venice Commission, an advisory body to the Council of Europe, with no person in Ukraine officially included in this list.

Ukraine imposes sanctions on petty pro-Russian politicians, yet ignores most high-profile ones
Editor’s Note: This story is the result of an investigation by StateWatch, a Ukrainian expert organization advocating for the principles of good governance, into how Ukraine imposes sanctions against high-profile pro-Russian individuals, many of whom are under sanctions in the U.S., UK or EU. The au…

After Russia's full-scale invasion, Danilov assured that Ukraine had been preparing for war since 2019, but did not expect a "simultaneous attack from all sides."

There was no reason given for Danilov's dismissal at the time of this publication.

The Kyiv Independent reached out to the Presidential Office for a comment, but has not received a response.

In the evening address, Zelensky thanked Danilov for his work.

"He is being transferred to another direction," the president said, promising to reveal details later.

Danilov will be replaced by the current chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Oleksandr Lytvynenko.

Lytvynenko has headed the Foreign Intelligence Service since July 2021. Prior to this, he was director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies between 2019 and 2021.

Between 2014 and 2019, Lytvynenko held the position of the deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

Oleh Ivashchenko, a former deputy head of Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR), was appointed as the new head of Ukraine's Foreign Intelligence Service.

"I look forward to strengthening the strategic capabilities of our state to predict and influence the processes on which the country's national security depends," Zelensky said, commenting on the reshuffle.

Earlier, Zelensky said that a reset of Ukraine's leadership was necessary and could involve several personnel shakeups beyond the military.

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