December 21, 2017 / 12:31 PM / a month ago

Ukraine detains suspected Russian spy in premier's inner circle

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine’s state security service SBU have detained a government official on suspicion of working in the interests of Russia, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said on Thursday.

“Together with the Security Service of Ukraine, an official in the government’s secretariat was found to be working for a long time in the interests of the enemy state. He was detained,” Groysman said on Facebook.

Neither he nor the SBU named the position or name of the detained official, but lawmakers and local media said the suspect was called Stanislav Yezhov, a deputy head of the government’s protocol service who had also worked as an interpreter for Groysman.

Yezhov could not immediately be reached for comment.

The SBU said in a statement that the official was recruited by Russian agents while he travelled abroad. It said the official had been collecting information about the activities of the government.

Ukraine and Russia were once allies whose intelligence agencies often worked closely together, but relations deteriorated after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Alessandra Prentice, Angus MacSwan and Hugh Lawson

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