Ukraine spy chief’s wife undergoes treatment for suspected poisoning with heavy metals

KYIV, Ukraine — The wife of Ukraine’s intelligence chief has been diagnosed with heavy metals poisoning and is undergoing treatment in a hospital, a spokesperson for the agency said Tuesday as the country’s war with Russia stretched into its 22nd month.

Marianna Budanova is the wife of Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of the military intelligence agency that is known in Ukrainian as GUR for short. Her condition was confirmed to The Associated Press by Andrii Yusov, the agency’s spokesman.

Yusov did not provide more details about the alleged poisoning, nor did he say who might be behind it.

Earlier this year, he told Ukrainian media that military intelligence chief Budanov had survived 10 assassination attempts carried out by the Russian state security service, or FSB.

Previously, Budanov had also told local media that his wife lives with him in his office, which could suggest he was the intended target for the poisoning.

There was no immediate comment from Russia on the poisoning claim. Russia media and commentators picked up the Ukrainian reports, with some speculating that it could be part of infighting in Ukraine.

Local media, quoting their sources in GUR, said Budanova was hospitalized in Kyiv.

The exact nature of the heavy metals that caused the poisoning has not been made public. However, local media said the metals were not used domestically or in military equipment, so the GUR representatives presume the poisoning was carried out intentionally, possibly through food or drink.

Apart from Budanova, several GUR personnel also were diagnosed with the same poisoning, according to local newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

An official statement with more details was expected to be released by GUR.

The suspected poisoning of opponents has long been a part of the Kremlin’s arsenal.


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