Ukrainian spy chief’s wife ‘poisoned with heavy metals’

An official at the GUR military intelligence agency confirmed that 'unfortunately' the reports are true and followed a prolonged deterioration of Marianne Budanova's health.

Ukrainian spy chief’s wife ‘poisoned with heavy metals’
Marianne Budanova
Marianne Budanova, wife of Ukraine’s spy agency chief Kyrylo Budanov, has been hospitalised (Picture: east2west/Reuters)

The wife of the chief of Ukraine’s spy agency has been poisoned, the country’s military has confirmed.

Marianne Budanova’s poisoning was reported by local media outlets citing unnamed intelligence sources, but the Ukrainian military has now confirmed the reports.

The 30-year-old was reportedly poisoned with heavy metals, and she is currently receiving hospital treatment.

Andriy Yusov, an official at the GUR military intelligence agency, confirmed that ‘unfortunately’ the reports are true and followed a prolonged deterioration of her health.

She is the wife of highly respected Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, 37, who has led operations to attack Russia with missiles and both aerial and sea drones during the 22-month conflict.

Russia is suspected as the culprit of the poisoning, and military intelligence sources say there had been attempts on Lt-Gen Budanov before and after Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Marianna Budanova, 30, wife of Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, 37, chief of Ukraine's Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense
Marianna Budanova has been poisoned, reportedly with heavy metals (Picture: Elle Ukraine/e2w)

Marianna is a psychologist who has acted as an aide to Kyiv mayor Vitalii Klychko.

She has lived with her husband at his work since the war started, previously telling Elle Ukraine: ‘On the evening of February 23, 2022, my husband told me that a full-scale invasion would begin at 5am. 

‘We got ready and went to his work, and since then we have not been at home. I can’t say that we prepared in any special way: documents, phones, a set of clothes for the first time. 

‘With that we left. By evening, I oversaw the preparation of the first special forces groups that were supposed to move to Hostomel, and the distribution of weapons and ammunition. 

‘Everyone was waiting, at midnight the guys were eating hamburgers from McDonald’s. And they were ready for battle.

FILE PHOTO: Major General Kyrylo Budanov, chief of the Military Intelligence of Ukraine, speaks during an interview with Reuters, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 6, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo
Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov is in charge of military intelligence in Ukraine (Picture: REUTERS)

‘I’ll be honest – I had no fear or panic. As the wife of a military man who was wounded three times (two moderate wounds and one serious), I was mentally prepared for any scenario. 

‘Therefore, I acted clearly and confidently: I did what I was told to do, everyone acted as a single team and a single whole.

‘You have to understand that there was almost no peacetime as such for my family. 

‘A few months after I met my future husband, dramatic events began to unfold on the Maidan [the 2014 Ukrainian revolution]. 

‘Then, as you know, everything went on and on: the annexation of Crimea, the fighting in Donbas…I’m used to living in a constant state of preparation and anticipation. 

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‘Therefore, the first days of the invasion did not come as a shock to me. This is what Carl von Clausewitz called the fog of war – when it is felt even before it begins.’

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