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The Ukrainian government reports that the wife of the country's intelligence agency director is undergoing treatment for poisoning.
Europe Ukraine

The Ukrainian government reports that the wife of the country’s intelligence agency director is undergoing treatment for poisoning.

The spokesperson for Ukraine’s intelligence agency announced on Tuesday that the wife of the agency’s chief has been diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning and is currently receiving treatment in a hospital. This update comes as the country’s ongoing conflict with Russia enters its 22nd month.

Marianna Budanova is the wife of Lieutenant General 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 give further information about the reported poisoning and did not mention if it was targeted towards Budanov. It is unclear if Russia is suspected to be involved. In the past, Yusov claimed that the military intelligence leader had avoided 10 assassination attempts by the Russian FSB, according to Ukrainian media reports earlier this year.

Before, Budanov had mentioned to the media that his wife resides with him in his workplace, implying that he may have been the intended victim of the poisoning.

There has been no prompt response from the Russian government regarding the accusation of poisoning. The Russian government has a history of being suspected of poisoning those who oppose them. Russian media and commentators have taken notice of the reports from Ukraine, with some suggesting it may be linked to internal conflicts within Ukraine.

According to sources in GUR, local media reported that Budanova was admitted to a hospital in Kyiv.

The specific identities of the toxic metals that caused the poisoning have not been disclosed. According to reports from local media, these metals are not typically used domestically or in military equipment. As a result, representatives from GUR suspect that the poisoning was a deliberate act, potentially through contaminated food or beverages.

In addition to Budanova, who has been wedded to Budanov since 2013, multiple GUR staff members were also found to have contracted the same poisoning, as reported by the local newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

GUR was anticipated to release an official statement with additional information.

Budanova, who holds a degree in psychology and acted as an adviser to Kyiv’s mayor before the war, spoke about her experiences being married to Ukraine’s spy chief to local media.

During an interview with Ukraine’s Elle magazine in October 2022, Budanova shared that her husband had informed her the night before Russia’s full-scale invasion that it would begin the following morning.

She stated that they gathered and visited his workplace, and have not returned home since. She also mentioned that they did not talk about relocating her to a safer place.

She stated to the magazine that she had no intention of separating from her family.