Ukraine detains senior officials suspected of spying for Russia

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Russia and Ukraine have been at war since February 24. (Representational)

Kyiv:

Ukraine has arrested a senior government official and a business leader suspected of being part of an alleged Russian spy ring, Ukraine’s Security Service announced on Tuesday.

The Security Service (SBU) did not name the two suspects but identified them as a senior official in the Cabinet of Ministers Secretariat and a department head at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a business lobby.

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He said in a statement on the Telegram app that he had carried out a “multi-stage special operation” to neutralize the alleged spy ring.

“As a result, in Kyiv, the head of a department of the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers and the head of one of the directorates of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry were arrested,” the SBU said.

“These officials passed various intelligence information to the enemy, from the state of our defense capability to arrangements at the state border and the personal data of Ukrainian law enforcement officers.”

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Russia did not immediately comment on the SBU statement.

The two main suspects were shown sitting in front of a Ukrainian flag in a video and saying they were collaborating with Moscow, with whom Ukraine has been at war since Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24.

It was not immediately clear whether they had spoken under duress.

The SBU said Russia pays suspects $2,000 to $15,000 per task, depending on the level of secrecy and the importance of the information. One of the men said in the video that he received a total of $33,000 for his activities, and the other said he received $27,000.

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One, who was codenamed “Kireev”, said he had been collaborating since 2016. The other said he had been since 2019.

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