Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine do?

The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine (SZRU) is an independent state body, which carries out its intelligence activities in political, economical, military and technical, scientific and technical, information and ecological spheres. Above-said activity is directed exclusively toward counteraction against external threats and challenges to the national security.

According to the Law of Ukraine “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine”, the SZRU is entrusted with the following tasks:

• obtaining, analytical processing and dissemination of finished intelligence to the President of Ukraine, to the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, and other users determined by the President of Ukraine;

• carrying out of the special measures of influence, aimed at national interests and state policy of Ukraine in economical, political, military and technical, ecological and information spheres support, strengthening the defense capability of the country, economical, scientific and technical development;

• ensuring of the establishments of Ukraine abroad safe functioning, enhancing security of these establishments personnel and members of their families in the country of residence, as well as of Ukrainian employees posted overseas with access to State secrets;

• fight against terrorism, international organized crime, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, illegal traffic in arms and technology of its production, illegal migration;

• counter measures for external threats that can affect National security of Ukraine, lives and health of its citizens, and state establishments abroad.

According to worldwide practice, the functional structure of intelligence integrates the processes of collection, analysis, evaluation of intelligence data, preparation of finished intelligence products, forecasts and scenarios of developments in the sphere of national and international security by carrying out human and signal intelligence operations, operational and signal activity as well as information and analytical work.

2. Where the SZRU is located?

The HQ of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is located in Nahirna Street in Kyiv. Some units are located in the other districts of the capital and in the different regions of Ukraine. The country residence of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is located in the countryside near Kyiv. The multifunctional infrastructure with the administrative block, covered net connections, security system, means of survival lifestyle, sports complex, medical centre and residential accommodation is created here.

Improvement and expansion of infrastructure is a constant concern for the leadership of the SZRU aimed at creating a supportive and enabling environment for the employees and connected, first of all, with the need to achieve the priority goals, which are focused on the national security.

3. Who directs and controls the activities of the SZRU?

The President of Ukraine undertakes the overall supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine activity. The Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine carries out its activity under the direct supervision of the Chairman, who is appointed and dismissed by the President of Ukraine.

Presidential control is being carried out through the Head’s of state function of running the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, appointment of its leadership, targets-setting as regards the implementation of them as well as daily monitoring of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine monitors and has control over the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine in accordance with procedure established in the Constitution of Ukraine, and in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On the Democratic Civilian Control Over the Military Establishment and State Law Enforcement Bodies”.

Parliamentary control is focused on the right for adoption of laws, which define legal principles of intelligence bodies’ activity, their mandate and tasks within their competences, available means to fulfill them, as well as the budget of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine which allows the Verkhovna Rada to determine the amount of funding needed, and to monitor the budget expenditure.

The Committee of National Security and Defense of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine regularly monitors the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine activity.

The report of key results of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine activity on implementation of laws in force, on observance of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens has been enforced in practice. These and other issues are discussed and debriefed at the meetings of the Committee, the members of which attend the sessions of the SZRU Collegium as well.

The Accounting Chamber of Ukraine monitors the SZRU’s budget.

The Prosecutor General of Ukraine and his delegated prosecutors ensure respect of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine for the laws of Ukraine.

The Law “On the Democratic Civilian Control Over the Military Establishment and State Law Enforcement Bodies” adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine creates legal conditions to ensure the best possible transparency of the government activities in the sphere of national security and defense. The law also stipulates democratic civilian control over the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine activity which is exercised by the citizens of Ukraine through public organizations they are affiliated with, through the deputies of representative bodies and personally by appeal to the Commissioner for Human rights of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and his representative for protection of the military personnel rights, or by appeal to any other state body in order prescribed by the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine “On the Citizens’ Appeals”.

This power-sharing comes up to democratic samples, approaches the basic principles of control over the intelligence service activity according to the European norms.

4. Can the SZRU conduct the pre-trial investigation of criminal cases, and, in this context, impair personal freedom of citizens, examine them or carry out any public or confidential investigative activity in criminal proceedings towards them, their housing, property, by wire-tapping and of the interception of communications?

No, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is not authorized to carry out the noted or any other actions associated with the investigation of criminal offenses as far as pursuant to the national legislation it is not the subject of criminal proceedings.

Security Sector Reform, begun as far back as in 2004 − 2005 for performance of the undertaken European commitments, was aimed to deprive intelligence bodies of Ukraine of any law enforcement duties. According to the noted concept, in particular, was established the organizational structure of the SZRU, in the framework of which, considering tasks put by the law, investigative units were not created and could not be created (currently, according to the Article 38 of the new Version of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, investigative units can function only as a part of law-enforcement bodies, security services, as well as bodies which supervise observance of tax legislation, and bodies of the National Bureau of Investigation).

Moreover, following the adoption of the new 2012 Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine, finally at the legislative level the fact was fixed that the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine can’t participate in criminal proceedings even indirectly. Article 41 of the Criminal Procedural Code of Ukraine and Part 4 of Article 7 of the Law of Ukraine “On Investigation and Search Operations” contain numerus clausus of government bodies, operational units of which are authorized to execute the instructions of the investigator, where the SZRU is not on the list.

5. Who works at the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine?

Military and civil service employees and those who perform auxiliary functions work with the SZRU as a military unit.

Taking into consideration the tasks assigned to the SZRU, the Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Technical Intelligence (SIGINT), Terrorism Counteraction, Information and Analysis, Legal, Special Technical, Logistics departments, educational institutions, research establishments and others are staffed with specialists having a good command in international law and international relations, science of law, economics, political science, state management, journalism, psychology, applied mathematics, cybernetics, computer technologies, system analysis, information security etc. with excellent command of  one or more foreign languages.

Today, there is a strong tendency towards the rejuvenation of staff. Practically 27 percent of all the SZRU personnel are young people in their twentieth. The majority of operational staff has two higher educational qualifications, including that in the fields of international law and economics, every third is proficient in two or more foreign languages. Without exception, everyone receives necessary special and language training. A number of employees hold doctorate degrees (Candidate of Science and Doctor of Science) and honorary titles.

At the same time not all employees of the SZRU are intelligence professionals. There are a lot of positions in the SZRU hold by the persons with the higher, secondary vocational or secondary education, who provide departments’ functioning.

6. Does the SZRU staff enjoy a special status?

In accordance with the Law “On the Intelligence Bodies of Ukraine”, while performing their official duties the staff members of intelligence bodies of Ukraine are under special protection of the State. Nobody, except public authorities and officials who are defined by this Law, has a right to interfere with their professional activities.

Social benefits for staff of intelligence bodies of Ukraine and their families as well as civilian employees entered into an employment contract with intelligence bodies of Ukraine are guaranteed by the law.

To protect the lives, homes, health, housing and property of staff members of intelligence bodies of Ukraine and their close relatives (spouse, husband, parents, children, whole blood brothers and sisters) against unlawful interference and threats in connection with professional activities of these staff members, intelligent bodies of Ukraine carry out special activities designed to provide security in the manner stipulated  by the Law of Ukraine “On State Protection of Court Staff and Law Enforcement Agencies” and other legislative acts of Ukraine. In each case any decision on carrying out these activities is made by the relevant intelligence agency head.

While on duty the military staff of intelligence bodies are entitled to keep, carry and use firearms in accordance with the procedure set  by the Law of Ukraine “On Militia”.

Detained members of the staff of the intelligence bodies of Ukraine on suspicion of having committed a crime or in case of imposition of a preventive measure in the form of remand in custody, are to be hold separately from other persons in detention. Reasons for prosecution, detention and arrest connected with search of the person and his belongings are carried out only in the presence of official representatives of this body. The intelligence bodies’ and their staff member’s vehicles in the line of duty shall not be subject to detention or search.

In case of detention, arrest or conviction outside Ukraine staff members of the Intelligence bodies of Ukraine in connection with their performance of tasks assigned to the intelligence bodies of Ukraine, the state contributes to their and their families’ release.

In case if the intelligence body completely or partially loose professional suitability as a result of his deciphering or due to reasons beyond his control, the intelligence body is obliged to employ this staff member or to create conditions for his professional retraining.

The special legal status of the SZRU staff members and their social protection are provided by the State legislation taking into account specifics of intelligence bodies’ activities.

However, status of the intelligence bodies of Ukraine staff member can not be used to achieve objectives which are not related to his official duties

7. How Can I Become an Employee of  the  SZR of Ukraine?

Taking into consideration the specifics of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, questions  of recruitment for work (service) in the Intelligence Service are extremely important. Staffing the  SZR of Ukraine  with new personnel is connected with the system of search, analysis and practical selection of candidates who could successfully perform the tasks. This work is done by the  staff of the Personnel Apparatus  of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine  together with chiefs of  relevant departments.

The questions of recruitment in SZR of Ukraine are considered individually in each case. At this,  much depends on the personality  of the candidate (his personal and business skills, education, experience, specialty, knowledge of foreign languages, etc.), and on the vacancies to be occupied.

If a person thinks that he/she meets the general requirements to the candidate, he/she  may send to the SZRU’s  website his/her detailed profile  with contact numbers and addresses and a motivational message in the form of a free presentation, which necessarily covers the following questions:

- What caused your interest in working in the Intelligence Service?

- In which branch of the Intelligence would you like to work and why?

- What factors influence your choosing the career of an intelligence officer?

It is also necessary to express the  opinion on projective questions:

- What stimulates a person to work effectively?

- Why does a person choose a particular profession?

- What can make a person  leave the job?

If  the staff of the Personnel Apparatus get interested in a specific person,  the person will be contacted  for further study and handling the formalities.

8. What Are the Requirements to Candidates for Service in the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine?

Candidates for a job, depending on the specific position they are planned to occupy,  should be up to the  following requirements:

- Citizenship  of Ukraine;

-Stable patriotic, moral and motivational settings for service in the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine and a general idea of ​​the specifics of the  intelligence work;

- Appropriate education (higher – to become an  officer or an employee, special secondary or high education- to fill vacancies from among persons of non-commissioned officers)

- High  intellectual, moral, professional, emotional and volitional, communicative and other features, ability to work in a team, being well informed in   general political events in the world and in Ukraine and being  able to cogently estimate them;

- Fluency (for a particular position) in at least one foreign language or being good at learning foreign languages;

- Good health and a good level of fitness conditioning;

- A high level of wide knowledge;

- Must  be a highly qualified professional with experience in the relevant field;

- Must observe high ethical standards and norms of legislation of Ukraine;

- Must be physically and mentally healthy;

- Must live permanently in  Ukraine;

- Must  be honest and sincere in providing information about oneself,  ready for  lengthy verification measures defined by the Law of Ukraine “On Military Duty and Military Service”, “On State Secret”, “Prevention of Corruption”, “On State Service”;

- Must have  a level of fitness, determined by SZRU’s Order  №15, registered in the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine March 18, 2013 under № 436/22968.

9. Are there any special aspects of hiring to the SZRU?

Recruiting and selecting of human resources to the SZRU is a flexible and efficient. The Service defines on its own, what specialists are needed at the moment: according to their educational characteristics, proficiency in specific languages, experience in defined areas and so forth.

The recruitment and selection process is competitive, voluntary and contractual.

At first, the Human Resources Department on the basis of primary materials makes the decision on expediency and possibility of checking and reviewing the applicant.

For the purpose of a thorough medical examination of one’s mental and physical fitness to perform essential job functions the applicant undergoes further culling by a special Military-Medical Board.

Simultaneously, during professional psychological selection the applicant’s general intelligence, mental and physical fitness to perform essential job functions at the SZRU, thinking speed, interpersonal skills and other professionally important qualities are assessed as well.

Besides, applicants are notified that they shall keep State and service secrets and shall observe the rules on data protection. Everyone employed at the SZRU assumes liability and sign a declaration of secrecy on nondisclosure of data protected by the law and became known to him while working at the Intelligence Service.

The process of reviewing and checking of applicants for job at the SZRU, as a rule, may take as little as a year. The personnel selection officer informs the applicant on a final decision.

The process of reviewing and checking of applicants is carried out with observance of all legal regulations and with respect to the individual’s interests. The information upon which clearance decisions are based is as accurate as it can be and is guarded with the strictest confidence and can’t be disclosed or transferred to the other organizations and persons. Therefore applicants shouldn’t be afraid that rejection for appointment will give the basis for restriction of their rights or somehow will influence the subsequent career. There are many reasons for turning down applicants, finally from dozens of potential applicants only a few become employees of the Foreign Intelligence.

10. What are the educational institutions of the SZRU and how to enter them?

The SZRU has its own in-service vocational training system. In accordance with the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine dated 23.05.2007 the Institute of the SZRU as the departmental higher educational establishment with the task to carry out the state-requisitioned training, retraining and improving the professional skills of the SZRU personnel was set up.

The main directions of the Institute educational activities are:

  • training of specialists of educating and qualifying level “Master” in “Intelligence and Counterintelligence Activities” and “Signal Intelligence”
  • retraining and skills enhancement for senior, operational and operational-technical staff.

Only personnel on active duty at the SZRU or (as under the contract) other government bogies of Ukraine employees can be the candidates for study. The admission to study to get the master’s degree is conducted on a competitive basis on the results of entrance examination.

11. What does the contract which needs to be signed while enlisting to the SZRU look like?

According to the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On Regulations on Military Service Personnel of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine” while taking into military service each person signs a contract. The contract on the performance of military service at the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is a written agreement which is concluded between the citizen of Ukraine and the state, on behalf of which the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine stands, for establishment of legal relations between the parties during the performance of military service.

The contract is concluded in two copies signed by the person who enters military service and the relative officer of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, sealed with a State seal which each of the Parties holds.

The contract is the basis for issuing the order for enlisting the person under the contract.

According to the contract, the citizen voluntarily assumes commitment to be enlisted to the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine for the period of the contract validity on conditions and as it should be, established by the laws and other regulations and standards of Ukraine which regulate active service at the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, and conscientiously implement requirements of military regulations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, regulations and standards of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, other legislative Acts, duty, orders of commanders and superiors.

In turn, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine according to the contract is obligated to provide observance of the social and economic, political and his and his family’s personal rights and freedoms including the provision of benefits, guarantees and compensations prescribed by the laws and regulations of Ukraine, which determine the status of military personnel and terms of military service, in particular:

- financial security in accordance with the rules and procedures established by the legislation of Ukraine and regulations of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine;

- the State compulsory personal insurance in case of  death, or loss of ability to work which occurred as a result of injuries (concussion, trauma or injury), disease obtained in the period of service.

By mutual agreement between parties, the other definitions of the contract can be specified.

The first contract on military service in the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine is concluded for 5 years. At the end of the contract period the contract can be continued under the new contract for 5 years every time upon attainment of the maximum age for military service.

12. Who of the SZRU staff can be seconded abroad? What is necessary for those who are looking for a mission abroad?

To date, the system of personnel overseas selection differs little from the practice applied by the other countries foreign intelligence services. It is clear that more stringent requirements are implemented for the group of staff stationed abroad, in view of specific work and tasks put before those who are on mission outside the country.

When considering whether to commit a staff member to assignments in foreign countries, the emphasis primarily is made on the professional qualification. The staff member is to have sufficient experience, profound knowledge, high level of the general aptitude and cross-cultural competence, weighty results in performance, integrity, decision-making capacity and some other qualities necessary for a long-term duty overseas.

One of the important intelligence agent’s tools is foreign languages, which determine the efficiency of his service overseas. Therefore, the mastery of at least one foreign language (depending on the country) is a mandatory requirement.

Besides, the state of health, particularly with regard to difficult climates of some countries, availability of driver’s license and some specific skills etc. are taking into account.

In general, the SZRU has preferences for selecting candidates for the long-term duty overseas guiding by the main principle: the staff who not only want, but also can, who have dedication to work and who have proven their ability in practice, are to work abroad.

13. What Ranks do Women Hold at the Foreign Intelligence? What Education Level is Required for Women’s Advancement at the SZRU?

Today, the share of female employees in the SZRU is 30 percent. Mostly, they work in analytical, security control and documenting department, international cooperation departments, in educational institution, in administrative, financial security units. Women work with HUMINT, SIGINT and abroad as well.

In the SZRU all necessary conditions are created to enable the full development of women’s potential, advancement, continuous strive to improve. All women who come to work at the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine at desire and corresponding efforts are well placed to realize knowledge, abilities, healthy ambitions and to become successful in many fields of activity.

14. How is the medical support of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine staff carried out?

Military personnel and retired from the military of the SZRU (who, in accordance with the laws, enjoy benefits for the free use of military health facilities) are provided with the free of charge qualified medical care in the military-medical facilities of the SZRU and other military bodies.

In particular, directly in the framework of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine the Medical Center has been set up and is in operation. In the Medical Center of the SZRU therapeutic, surgical, dental, otolaryngologic, ophthalmologic and gynecologic medical care providing by specialists is carried out both routinely and urgently.

For the purpose of health care (health protection) improvement as component of social protection of the SZRU employees, the contract between the SZRU and Military Medical Department of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on providing medical care to the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine staff members and retired from the military of the SZRU (who, in accordance with the laws, enjoy benefits for the free use of military health facilities) is signed.

This contract defines health formalities for above-mentioned categories of persons at the Security Service of Ukraine health care facilities, according to which the medical care to personnel of the central departments of the SZRU is provided by the specialists of the Military Medical Department of the Security Service of Ukraine only with the SZRU Medical Center‘s health referrals. Military personnel, retired from the military of the SZRU (who, in accordance with the laws, enjoy benefits for the free use of military health facilities) of the regional units of the SZRU receive medical care in the military-medical subunits of the Military Medical Department of the Security Service of Ukraine on demand.

On the contractual principles the military-medical expertise, medical reviews of applicants for military service at the SZRU are carried out. Contracts on providing medical care with hospitals of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine in Kyiv and some regions are signed as well.

Within budgetary allocations, military personnel of the SZRU and members of their families are provided with free vouchers for sanatorium treatment with payment of 25 percent of vouchers cost for the military personnel and 50 percent of cost – for members of their families. Sanatorium treatment as a component of social protection of military personnel of the SZRU is carried out by the Security Service of Ukraine according to Article 6 of the Decree of the President of Ukraine dated 14.10.2004 No. 1239/2004 “On the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine”.