Monitoring of Bihus.Info: three participants of the operation were transferred to the combat zone

Liza Brovko

Three participants in the operation to track Bihus.Info journalists — Ihor Kravchenko, Yevhen Konovalenko and Taras Sadovnyk — were transferred to the war zone in the east of the country for operational and combat tasks. This was the order of the head of SBU Vasyl Malyuk.

SBU informed journalists about this in response to their request.

The journalists also asked who is currently acting as the head of the Department for the Protection of National Statehood after the dismissal of Roman Semenchenko. SBU named Andriy Ishchuk.

On the collage of Ihor Kravchenko and a response from the SBU.

What is the story between Bihus.Info and SBU?

On January 6, 2024, the little-known resource "Narodna Pravda" published a video and material about how some employees of Bihus.Info use drugs at a corporate party in the country complex "Ukrainian Village" near Kyiv. The founder of the project Denys Bihus reacted the same day. He said that the video was not made by journalists, but by cameramen who were fired for it. And most importantly, the project team was illegally monitored for several months for almost a year.

The journalists turned to the Security Service of Ukraine, the police and the prosecutorʼs office, and also conducted their own investigation, which came out on February 5. Investigators said that journalists were being monitored by SBU Department for the Protection of the National State — more than 30 people participated in the operation. Already at that time, the dismissed head of the Department, Roman Semenchenko, did not deny the involvement of the Department of Protection of National Statehood of the Security Service of Ukraine (DPNS) in this operation in a telephone conversation. Journalists of Bihus.Info stated that the monitoring of them continued in recent days.

SBU reacted to the investigation — a message from the head of the special service Vasyl Malyuk appeared on the website. It says it was an "operation against drug crime." The operator of Bihus.Info was accused of being "involved in the distribution of narcotic substances." But the publication of the video in the media is unacceptable, which is why the head of the DPNS Roman Semenchenko, was fired on January 31.

The case of surveillance of Bihus.Info journalists was transferred to SBI. This was explained by the fact that law enforcement officers may be involved in the surveillance of journalists. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor Generalʼs Office is investigating the obstruction of journalistsʼ activities.

The editors of Bihus.Info are sure that the order of DPNS to monitor the editorial office was given by the Presidentʼs Office, which did not comment on this situation in any way.