President Victor Yushchenko and National Security and Defense Council Secretary Vitaly Haiduk have viewed an exercise involving the Alpha Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Security Service of Ukraine to mark the 15th anniversary of its founding. The Alpha officers demonstrated their skills by simulating an attack on a bus to free hostages and firing their guns while driving. 

The President wished those working at the Security Service a happy anniversary. He said it was a perfect occasion to critically assess what has been done and outline plans for the future.

“The Security Service has completed the first phase of its development. Nobody questions its role in protecting the nation’s interests,” he said.

The Ukrainian leader said the Security Service and the country had been developing simultaneously and so it, just like Ukraine, had been through a "difficult period of changes."

“Not all of these transformations have benefited it [the Security Service],” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko believes it has great potential, which is seen in its active participation in global counter-terrorism operations, as well as in its professional work in other areas. 

“The Security Service is being constantly watched by our society and stands on the crossroads of political forces. Like the rest of the country, it should become immune to all attempts to use it unlawfully,” he said.

The President is convinced it is necessary to improve the Security Service but introduce reforms along with structural changes within the country’s law enforcement system so that they should prove effective. 

He also said the Security Service “needs protection.” 

“We must protect it against infighting and professional apathy. We must also build an inviolable wall to protect it from desires to make it politically dependent,” he said, pledging to ensure that the Security Service is "never influenced." “Your guides are the Constitution, laws and the President.” 

He also insisted that “renewing the original functions of the Security Service is task number one” and called on those present to “resolutely get rid of the peels” of uncharacteristic functions and duties.

He said the Security Service should develop counterintelligence, prevent claims on our sovereignty, promote counter-terrorism efforts and carry out information and analytical research.

The President promised he would soon nominate his candidate to head the Security Service.

“This person will be able to introduce reforms and focus on state priorities,” he said, thanking “all the honest, professional and moral security officers.” “I rely on your patriotism, professional commitment, honor and dignity,” he added.


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