| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Ukraine says wife of spymaster Budanov was poisoned

A spokeswoman for the agency said on Tuesday that the wife of the head of Ukraine’s military espionage agency had been poisoned with heavy metals and was receiving treatment in a hospital.

Marianna Budanova is the spouse of Kyrylo Budanov, the chief of the GUR military intelligence organization in Ukraine. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the agency has been heavily active in covert operations against Russian forces.

“Yes, I can confirm the information, unfortunately, it is true,” GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov told Reuters, without clarifying when the poisoning took place.

The BBC’s Ukrainian service cited Yusov as saying that several GUR officials had also experienced milder symptoms of poisoning.

Budanov’s public profile has risen in Ukraine and the West, where he is portrayed as a behind-the-scenes mastermind of operations to strike back at Russia. In Russian media he is a hate figure.

The 37-year-old has himself been the target of several attempts on his life, including a botched car bombing.

If confirmed as deliberate, the purported poisoning of his wife would represent the most serious targeting of a high-profile Ukrainian leadership figure’s family member during the 21-month-long war.

The poisoning was first reported by Ukrainian media outlets.

  • Reuters