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29 Dec, 2022 19:29

Ukrainian mayor arrested over military 'leaks'

The head of the city of Poltava was already on the Ukrainian “kill list” 
Ukrainian mayor arrested over military 'leaks'

Ukraine’s security service, the SBU, arrested Alexander Mamai on Thursday, saying the mayor of Poltava had revealed information about military deployments. The opposition politician now faces up to 12 years behind bars.

SBU agents surrounded Mamai after an event and took him to his office, local media reported. The security service posted photos of the arrest on their Telegram channel, with the faces of people involved blurred.

Mamai was informed that he was under suspicion of “unauthorized dissemination of information about the deployment of units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, committed under martial law,” according to the SBU. The information he revealed had not been made publicly available by the General Staff, the Defense Ministry, or “other authorized state bodies,” according to the agency.

The sensitive disclosure appears to be in Mamai’s December 15 statement, when he announced the formation of a new military unit in Poltava and mentioned the address of its headquarters, the local outlet Zmist reported.

Mamai entered local politics in 2006 and became mayor in 2010. He blamed the SBU and then-president Pyotr Poroshenko for his ouster in 2018, and joined the Opposition Platform – For Life bloc run by Viktor Medvedchuk. Just before winning the 2020 election, Mamai switched allegiances to For the Future, a parliamentary group backed by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, originally a patron of President Vladimir Zelensky.

In a December 2021 interview to a Ukrainian TV station, Mamai described the conflict in Donbass as “warfare between the USA and Russia in which brothers kill one another.” He was then put on the notorious ‘Peacemaker’ blacklist for “Russian propaganda.”

Earlier this year, Zelensky banned most Ukrainian opposition parties and established state control over major media outlets, citing the ongoing conflict with Russia.