Ukraine says Marianna Budanova, wife of military spy chief, was poisoned

Ukrainian officials say wife of Kyrylo Budanov has been hospitalised due to heavy metals poisoning.

Ukraine's Military Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov (R) and his wife Marianna attend a memorial ceremony [File: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters]

The wife of Ukraine’s military spy chief has been poisoned with heavy metals and is undergoing treatment, a Ukrainian official says.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian military intelligence agency, or GUR, said Marianna Budanova, wife of Kyrylo Budanov, was receiving treatment in hospital.

“Yes, I can confirm the information. Unfortunately, it is true,” GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday without clarifying when the poisoning occurred or who was responsible.

Budanov has become a celebrated figure in Ukraine for his role in planning clandestine operations against Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Yusov said this year that Budanov had survived 10 assassination attempts by Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB.

While it is not immediately clear who was behind the suspected poisoning of his wife, the BBC’s Ukrainian service cited Yusov as saying that other GUR officials have experienced milder poisoning symptoms.

The suspected poisoning was first reported by Ukrainian media. There was no immediate comment from Russian authorities.

Russian media figures have speculated that the poisoning could be a result of infighting within Ukraine.

Russia has previously been accused of poisoning dissidents, including politician Alexey Navalny and two Russian exiles who attended a summit in Berlin organised by a critic of Russia.

Moscow has also blamed Ukraine for suspected involvement in the killings of a pro-war Russian blogger and a pro-war journalist on Russian soil, something Ukraine denies.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies