Wife of top Ukrainian intelligence official poisoned by apparent heavy metals

November 29, 2023

Marianna Budanova, the wife of Ukraine’s top military intelligence official Kyrylo Budanov, has been hospitalized with apparent heavy metals poisoning, according to Ukrainian and Western officials on Wednesday.

Budanov is the head of GUR, the Main Directorate of Intelligence in Ukraine. Budanova’s hospitalization immediately led to Ukrainian and Western suspicions that Russian agents may have paid off a staff member to poison her. 

Test results showed that Ukrainian Defense Intelligence staff had also been sickened, agency spokesperson Andriy Yusov confirmed. The seriousness of Budanova’s condition was not immediately apparent, though a source with Ukrainian Defense Intelligence told CNN she had tested positive for arsenic and mercury.

“Marianna Budanova was indeed poisoned by heavy metals. She is now undergoing a course of treatment, which is already coming to an end,” Yusov told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Ukrainian Service.

Budanov has been one of the more high-profile Ukrainian officials for his efforts to design and enact plans by operatives to carry out strikes against Russian targets amid the 21-month-long war.

His wife lives with him at his office, though she does not work at the GUR. Since June 2021, though, she’s been working as an adviser to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

There have reportedly been at least 10 attempts on Budanov’s life since 2014—the year Russia invaded the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. 

PHOTO: Marianna Budanova, Kyrylo Budanov per VOA

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