Wife of celebrated Ukrainian military chief poisoned by heavy metals

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KYIV: The wife of Ukrainian military spy chief Kyrylo Budanov has been poisoned with heavy metals and is undergoing treatment, Al Jazeera reported citing a Ukrainian official.

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian military intelligence agency, or GUR, said Marianna Budanova was receiving treatment in hospital. “Yes, I can confirm the information. Unfortunately, it is true”, GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov said on Tuesday without clarifying when the poisoning occurred or who was responsible, Al Jazeera reported.

Budanov has become a celebrated figure in Ukraine for his role in planning clandestine operations against Russia, which launched a fullscale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. According to Yusov, Budanov had survived 10 assassination attempts by Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, this year.

Al Jazeera stated that it is not immediately clear who was behind the suspected poisoning of Budanov’s wife. Citing Yusov, the BBC’s Ukrainian service said that other GUR officials have experienced milder poisoning symptoms.

The suspected poisoning was first reported by the Ukrainian media. There was no immediate comment from the Russian authorities. Russian media figures have speculated that the poisoning could be a result of infighting within Ukraine.

Russia was previously 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, a claim Ukraine denies.

In his virtual address at the G20 Leaders Summit, Putin said that some of the leaders, in their speeches, said that they are “shocked by Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine”. Putin said, “Of course, military actions are always a tragedy for people, families and the country as a whole. And, of course, we must think about how to stop this tragedy”.

“By the way, Russia has never refused peace negotiations with Ukraine. It is not Russia, but Ukraine, that has publicly announced that it is withdrawing from the negotiation process. And moreover, a decree was signed by the head of state prohibiting such negotiations with Russia”, he added. (ANI)

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