Officials report that the spouse of the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence is in the hospital following a heavy metal poisoning that may have been introduced into her diet.
According to the newspaper Babel, Marianna Budanova, the wife of Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence (GUR), is a university professor. She was completing medical treatment for the effects of the poisoning.
“Yes, I can confirm the information, unfortunately, it is true,” GUR spokesman Andriy Yusov said, without clarifying when the poisoning happened.
The mystery substances believed to have sickened Budanova “are in no way used in daily activities or in military affairs,” a source within GUR told the outlet. “Their presence may indicate a deliberate attempt to poison a specific person.”
The poison likely had been mixed into Budanova’s food, reported the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, citing sources in the country’s security apparatus.
“She complained of feeling unwell, and that is why they ran some tests that revealed she had been poisoned,” sources were quoted as telling the publication.
Several other GUR operatives had also been poisoned, but Budanova became symptomatic first because she weighs significantly less than the others, reported Ukrainska Pravda.
Valeriy Kondratyuk, the former head of Ukraine’s Foreign Intelligence Service, told the independent Russian news outlet Meduza that he spoke on Tuesday to Budanov, who confirmed his wife’s poisoning.
“Some of her organs had been affected,” Kondratyuk revealed. “At this point, the medical treatment has been concluded; her life is not in danger.”
According to RBC Ukraine, the poisoning of Budanova is being looked at by the Ukrainian authorities as an attempted murder.
Reports from the media failed to identify the suspected poisoner or provide a timeline for the incident.
Kondratyuk said that the attempt on Budanova’s life might have been planned by Russian security agencies, although he offered no proof for this theory.
Budanov was reported to be “in good health” and did not sustain any injuries. According to a GUR spokesperson in June, the 37-year-old military spymaster has reportedly escaped at least ten attempts on his life since the commencement of the conflict with Russia.
In an interview with Radio Freedom earlier this year, Budanov said that he and his wife have been living in his office and spending 24 hours a day together for security reasons.
“She’s actually a professor at our national police academy,” Budanov told The War Zone website in September. “She’s teaching legal psychology. It’s not a problem for her as it might have been for someone else.”
Budanov has been portrayed as the mastermind of numerous secret operations targeting President Vladimir Putin’s forces — and he has previously vowed to “keep killing Russians anywhere on the face of this world until the complete victory of Ukraine.”
Budanov was “arrested” in absentia in April on terrorism-related accusations by a Moscow court.
The assassinations of pro-Kremlin journalist Darya Dugina and pro-war Russian blogger Vladlen Tatarsky, who perished in explosives on Russian soil, have previously been attributed by Moscow to the Ukrainian secret services. Kiev denies any role in their demises.