Listening devices were found in the office of Ukrainian General Valery Zalozny

KYIV — The Ukrainian military announced Monday that eavesdropping devices had been found in the offices of the country’s commander-in-chief, Valery Zalozny, and other military officials, but did not clarify who might have placed the devices, or what conversations might have been surreptitiously recorded.

The military statement, issued in a Facebook post, came a day after Ukrainian media reported that Zalozhny’s “office” had been bugged, and that the country’s security service, the Ukrainian Security Service, said it had opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

“Yesterday, during a routine inspection of the premises, items of equipment for recording information were discovered,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army wrote in the post. “Eavesdropping devices were installed in the offices designated for the work of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and his staff.”

The General Staff also did not specify how long the devices were believed to have remained in Zalozny’s office before they were found.

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Speaking to reporters on Monday, Zalozny said that wiretapping was found at one of the “several places” where he worked. “This is the room I was supposed to use today,” he said in a video posted on the website of RBC, a Ukrainian news outlet. “I wasn’t there long.”

Zalozny said that he had previously worked in the room where the device was found, but the period between then and today was “significant.”

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“Maybe they were preparing to meet me,” he said. He did not provide any further details about his workday or who he planned to meet with.

On Sunday evening, the Ukrainian Security Service said in a post on the Telegram application that it was opening a criminal investigation. The intelligence agency said the eavesdropping device “was not found directly in Valery Zalozny’s office, but in one of the rooms that he could use in his future work.”

The Ukrainian Security Service said: “According to preliminary data, the discovered device was in a malfunctioning state, and no means of collecting information or means of transmitting audio recordings remotely was found.”

Ukraine’s internal military circles have been targeted previously – possibly by Russian special services. Last month, officials in Kiev said that Mariana Budanova, the wife of Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kirilo Budanov, had been poisoned with heavy metals.

The authorities said that Budanova, who was living with her husband at the intelligence headquarters, was hospitalized and underwent treatment after a long illness.

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Tensions have escalated in recent weeks between Zalozny and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, after Zalozny said… In an interview with The Economist saying that the war with Russia has reached a “stalemate” and that “there will probably not be a beautiful, deep penetration” of Ukraine’s front line as occurred in last year’s successful counterattacks.

Zelensky publicly contradicted Zalozny’s statements, and later ordered changes to the country’s military leadership – replacing the commanders of the special forces and medical forces, in a move that bypassed Zalozny even though both commanders were reporting to him.

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Former Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malear said in a post on the Telegram app on Monday that there is a continuing risk of surveillance and interception of conversations between military officials.

“Everyone is aware that there is a possibility of wiretapping and information leakage,” Maliyar wrote. “So, that is always taken into account when communicating voice.” She added that sometimes conversations are actually overheard. “Classified information has been leaked from HQ – yes,” she wrote. “Military secrets have become public more than once.”

Serhiy Morgunov contributed to this report.

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