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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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Top Ukrainian interpreter accused of spying for Russia

Russian Spy?

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KIEV, Ukraine - On Thursday, a top Ukrainian government interpreter was detailed, following accusations of spying for Russia. 

The security service of Ukraine said that it had opened a treason case and had detained Stanislav Yezhov, an interpreter for the cabinet of ministers, while it prepared charges against him.

Ukraine PM Volodymyr Groysman said in a Facebook post the spy had “long been working in the interests of a hostile government.” 

Yezhov was detained at his office on Wednesday night and the Ukrainian television channel Pryamiy filmed agents leading him away in handcuffs.

The security service added that Yezhov had gathered information on government activities with “special equipment” on the orders of his Russian curators. 

It further noted that he had been recruited by Russian special services during a long trip abroad and had electronically passed them intelligence. 

Subsequently, his home and office were reportedly searched.

Oleksiy Petrov, head of the security service's counter-intelligence department, was quoted as saying in Pryamiy, “The official had access to fairly specific insider information in the cabinet of ministers. He was respected. He was working for the Russian special services very responsibly, thoroughly and creatively.”

Further, Ukrainian Pravda newspaper reported that security services had discovered the alleged spy several months ago, and allowed him to continue working as an interpreter in a bid to secretly gather evidence against him.

It further noted that Groysman had reportedly agreed to help with this sting operation against his interpreter. 

Meanwhile, in his Facebook post, the prime minister thanked the security service for its “professionalism and vigilance.”

The security service added that he was recruited by the Russians while working abroad.

He previously served in the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States.

The news of Yezhov’s detention sent ripples of fear in the U.K. specifically as he participated in a meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street in July.

Yezhov was seen in photographs interpreting for the Ukraine PM at the meeting with May, as well as a meeting with Joe Biden, the then U.S. vice president, in 2016.

However, it wasn't clear if he was already passing secrets to the Kremlin at the time of the Downing Street meeting.

Late on Thursday, May said she is "aware" of the claims about the alleged Russian spy.

The Prime Minister made the admission in a news conference in Poland a day after a picture emerged on social media showing the man in Number 10.

When asked if she was concerned about reports of the Russian spy she was photographed alongside in Downing Street, May said, "I'm aware of the reports in relation to the Ukrainian individual who attended Downing Street earlier in the summer. The action that has been taken is a matter for the Ukrainian authorities."

Downing Street said that the meeting that Yezhov attended to translate involved discussions on "the importance of maintaining sanctions on Russia to keep up the political pressure until the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement" and "the importance of improving the capability of the Ukrainian armed forces.” 

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