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

28 November 2023, 17:54

Major General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief
Russia Ukraine War. Picture: PA

Marianna Budanova is the wife of Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency known by its local acronym GUR.

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

Marianna Budanova is the wife of Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence agency known by its local acronym GUR.

Her condition was confirmed to The Associated Press by Andrii Yusov, the agency’s spokesman.

Mr Yusov did not provide more details about the alleged poisoning, nor did he say if it was believed to have been intended for Mr Budanov or whether Russia was thought to be behind it.

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

Previously, Mr 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 on the poisoning claim from the Russian government, which has long been suspected of poisoning opponents.

Russian 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, say Ms Budanova was in hospital 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 Ms Budanova, who has been married to Mr Budanov since 2013, several GUR personnel were also diagnosed with the same poisoning, according to local newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.

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

Ms 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.

In an interview in October 2022 to Ukraine’s Elle magazine, Ms Budanova described how on the eve of Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 23, her husband informed her it would start the next morning.

“We got together and went to his place of work, and since then we have not been home,” she said, adding that they did not discuss sending her away somewhere else safer.

“Personally, I was not going to go anywhere away from my family,” she told the magazine.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron

Germany and Poland rule out troops for Ukraine as Kremlin warns of wider war

Poland farmers' protest

Thousands of farmers protest in Warsaw over EU’s environmental policies

Oleg Orlov

Moscow court jails human rights activist for 30 months for Ukraine war criticism

Pakistan Politics

Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan and wife plead not guilty in corruption case

Germany Red Army Faction

German left-wing militant arrested after more than 30 years on the run

Arsenal wished Olsson, who has won 47 caps for his country, a "full and speedy recovery" on social media.

Ex-Arsenal midfielder, 28, rushed to hospital with 'acute brain disease' after collapsing at home

Israel Palestinians

Israel ready to halt war during Ramadan if hostage deal reached, says Biden

Jens Stoltenberg

Nato chief says alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s father accused of punching photographer in the face in Sydney

Taylor Swift's father Scott Swift, 71, has been accused of assaulting a photographer

Taylor Swift's father Scott accused of ‘punching’ photographer ‘in the chops’

Australia Double Fatality

Police asked not to march at Sydney Mardi Gras parade after alleged murders

Couple Luke Davies and Jesse Baird had not been seen since Monday last week

Body of TV presenter Jesse Baird and boyfriend found ‘hidden under rocks’ in rural town 100 miles from Sydney

Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Sean Combs

Music producer accuses Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of sexual misconduct

Emmanuel Macron

Putting Western troops on the ground in Ukraine not ‘ruled out’, says Macron

Israel Palestinians

Biden ‘hopes Hamas ceasefire and hostage deal can take effect by next Monday’

Secretary of State for the Home Department James Cleverly

West must 'help people thrive in their own countries' to tackle migrant crisis, James Cleverly says