Ukraine says detained regional official accused of spying for Russia

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Ukraine said Friday it had taken into custody an official in the western Khmelnytsky region, accusing him of sharing sensitive military information with Russian security services.

Prosecutors in Ukraine have opened thousands of criminal cases into collaboration since Russian forces invaded in February 2022.

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The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement the official worked for the regional city council and had passed information on troop deployments to Moscow.

Russia “planned to use this information to prepare missile strikes, as well as possible sabotage and terrorist attacks,” the SBU said.

“He is currently in custody. The offender faces life imprisonment” on treason charges, they added without identifying the official.

The SBU said that Russian security services had first made its approach when the official was studying in Moscow in the 1990s, and that he communicated with handlers via online messaging services.

Kyiv is cracking down on those suspected of having aided and abetted invading Russian forces, many in the east and south.

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The United Nations said last year Ukraine had opened more than 6,600 criminal cases “against individuals for collaboration and other conflict-related crimes” since the war began.

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