Victor Yushchenko has spoken at a ceremony to mark the 15th anniversary of the Security Service of Ukraine, according to the President`s press-office.

In his speech, the President said our people saw the Security Service as a defender of their interests, Ukraine’s sovereignty and integrity. He said the nation hoped it would always be ready to "face up to the challenges of authoritarianism, separatism and treason."

He said reforms at the Security Service of Ukraine were aimed at helping it adapt to European standards and ending numerous staff rotations, which “impede the effective fulfillment of special tasks.” He added that the Security Service must reinforce its analytical department.

“Traditionally, the Security Service is where the nation`s intellect is concentrated, and this tradition should be carefully preserved and cherished,” he said, adding that it was necessary to improve social standards for those working there.  

The President pledged to ensure that it does not become a “weak institution with little influence to execute private orders.” He said he would soon choose his nominee to head the Security Service and reiterated that his choice would be patriotic, professional and moral. 

Following his speech, he presented state awards to Security Service officers.