Ukrainian spy chief’s glam wife poisoned after he led bombing campaign on Russia
The glam wife of Ukraine's military intelligence chief was poisoned when her food was laced with arsenic and mercury, a former Kyiv spy leader has revealed.
Marianna Budanova, 30, is understood to be recovering after a meal she ate was spiked with "heavy metals." She is married to Lieutenant-General Kyrylo Budanov, 37, who has had a Russian target on his back for some time.
Lt-Gen Budanov was not poisoned but several senior colleagues of his also fell victim to the silent onslaught. Ex-military boss Valeriy Kondratyuk, who held Budanov's position between 2015 and 2016, confirmed the news.
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"I have confidential information that is not yet known," said Kondratyuk, 53. "The poisoning… analysis detected metals such as arsenic and mercury. It also affected several employees of the HUR of the Ministry of Defence [Ukraine's military intelligence service].
"And we are not talking about the guards who were, for example, with Budanov's wife. They are high-ranking persons – heads of individual sections, who are responsible specifically for operations regarding Russia in the Main Intelligence Directorate."
Meanwhile Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov said Budanova has been placed under medical supervision as she recovers. "[Her] life is currently out of danger, but medical supervision will continue for some time," he said.
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Another source said of the other victims: "They didn’t notice anything about themselves, and now they are also being treated."
If Kondratyuk's reports turn out to be true, this could spell trouble for Ukraine. Budanov is a well-respected military boss who headed up operations against Russia including the assassinations of several high-ranking officials and the attack on the Crimean Bridge. Three separate arrest warrants for Budanov have been issued by Russia.
Kondratyuk reckons Russia is probably behind the attack and were likely hoping Budanov would fall victim. He added Vladimir Putin's secret service has regularly used poison against Russia's enemies in the past.
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"Let’s say this is the most well-known tool, which is used by the special services of Russia not only against those the Kremlin considers enemies there, but also against those abroad who oppose the Putin regime," he said.
The Kremlin has yet to comment on the poisoning. Meanwhile an urgent investigation into the attack in Kyiv has been launched.
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