Stanislav Yezhov (circled) walks behind Theresa May and Ukraine’s prime minister Volodymyr Groysman during a visit to Downing Street in July
A Ukranian interpreter arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia has been branded ‘a rat in glasses’.
Stanislav Yezhov – an aide who works for the Ukrainian cabinet and visited Downing Street earlier this year – was detained by the country’s police yesterday.
In a shocking Facebook post, Ukraine’s prime minister Volodymyr Groysman said that Yezhov had ‘long been working in the interests of a hostile government’.
Yezhov’s wife Yulia Miroshnikova is Russian and and the couple are reported to have significant financial ties to the country, with almost £27,000 held in the Russian state bank Sberbank by Ms Miroshnikova.
She formerly worked at a Washington-based energy consulting firm, while Yezhov served in the city’s Ukranian embassy.
It is suggested that he may have been recruited by the Russians during his time in the States.
It is not known if Yezhov, who could be jailed for 12 to 15 years if found guilty of spying, is accused of acts of espionage at the time he attended Downing Street in July.
During the visit, Yezhov interpreted discussions held between Theresa May and Prime Minister Groysman.
Among the topics discussed were British support for Ukraine’s cyber defences and sanctions against Russia.
Asked about the man visiting Downing Street, Mrs May told a press conference in Poland: ‘I am aware of the reports in relation to a Ukrainian individual who attended Downing Street earlier in the summer.
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘Security at Number 10 is kept under constant review.’ Pictured left: Alleged spy Yezhov outside Downing Street. Right: Yezhov (highlighted) with Boris Johnson
Stanislav Yezhov – an interpreter for the Ukrainian cabinet – was detained by the country’s police today
‘The matter is for the Ukrainian authorities.’
Asked whether he would raise the issue during talks with Mr Lavrov in Moscow, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: ‘I think that is a matter for the Ukrainians.
‘We want Ukraine to go on the right path and we are worried that Ukraine needs more encouragement, more help, to reform, to make sure it isn’t captured by the wrong influences.
‘I think possibly what this episode shows is the real difficulties and risks that the Ukrainian government is running. They need a lot of encouragement.’
Ukraine’s state security service SBU detained Yezhov, 39, on suspicion of working in the interests of Russia, Prime Minister Groysman said today.
Oleksiy Petrov, head of Ukrainian’s counter-intelligence department, said: ‘He enjoyed respect.
‘He worked responsibly, diligently and creatively for the Russian special services.
‘He passed information, stole documents, eavesdropped on news, searched for information among colleagues and regularly sent it to the Russian special services. What a rat in glasses.’
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware of reporting about the arrest of Stanislav Yezhov in Ukraine.’ Pictured: Yezhov on board a plane
Ukraine’s state security service SBU detained Yezhov, 39, on suspicion of working in the interests of Russia, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said today. Pictured: Yezhov being led away by police
Mrs May said today that Britain and Poland are concerned about Russian attempts to weaponise information. Pictured: Yezhov hanging his head while being taken away by police
The spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin was aware of the arrest.
Dmitry Peskov told Interfax: ‘These allegations of spying simply reflect the general instability of Ukraine.
‘They are nothing but attempts to transfer blame for what’s going on in the country on to “hostile forces”.’
Yezhov was seen being led away in handcuffs on Ukrainian television.
Ukraine’s security service said Yezhov acted ‘on the orders’ of Russia to collect information ‘about the activities of government structures’, with the help of ‘special equipment’.
Yezhov gave data to the Russians through ‘electronic channels of communication’, the security service said.
His home and workplace are now being searched by Ukrainian security services, they indicated.
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘Security at Number 10 is kept under constant review.’
Oleksiy Petrov, head of counterintelligence in Ukraine, told Pryamiy TV: ‘The official had access to insider information about the Cabinet of Ministers’. Pictured: Yezhov being led away in handcuffs today
Yezhov’s home and workplace are now being searched by Ukrainian security services, they indicated. Pictured: Yezhov in front of a Ukrainian flag
Oleksiy Petrov, head of counterintelligence in Ukraine, told Pryamiy TV: ‘The official had access to insider information about the Cabinet of Ministers.
‘He was respected. And he responsibly and diligently worked for the Russian special services.’
He also met then-US Vice President Joe Biden in 2016.
Neither the PM nor the SBU named the position or name of the detained official, but he has been widely named as Stanislav Yezhov.
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.
Asked about the man visiting Downing Street, Mrs May told a press conference in Poland: ‘I am aware of the reports in relation to a Ukrainian individual who attended Downing Street earlier in the summer. Pictured: May with Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki today
The revelation came as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson travelled to Moscow for a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov tomorrow. Pictured: The foreign secretary in Poland today
Mrs May said today that Britain and Poland are concerned about Russian attempts to weaponise information.
‘We have agreed today to bolster our cooperation to counter Russian disinformation in the region …. we are both deeply concerned by Russia’s attempts to weaponise information,’ she told reporters during a visit to Poland.
‘The Kremlin is seeking to undermine the international rules-based system and it will not succeed.’
The revelation came as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson travelled to Moscow for a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov tomorrow.
It comes at a time when relations between Moscow and the West are at their coolest for several decades.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware of reporting about the arrest of Stanislav Yezhov in Ukraine.
‘We can neither confirm or deny the allegations against him. It is not our practice to comment on legal proceedings in other jurisdictions.’