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 its Telegram channel, with the faces of those involved blurred to meet confidentiality requirements.
Mamai was informed that he was suspected of having “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 public by the General Staff, the Ministry of Defense or “other authorized public bodies”, depending on the agency.
The sensitive revelation 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, local media Zmist reported.
Mamai entered local politics in 2006 and became mayor in 2010. He blamed the SBU and then-president Pyotr Poroshenko for his ousting in 2018, and joined the Opposition Platform – For Life bloc led by Viktor Medvedchuk. Just before winning the 2020 election, Mamai switched allegiance to For the Future, a parliamentary group backed by oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, originally patron of President Vladimir Zelensky.
In a December 2021 interview with a Ukrainian television channel, Mamai described the conflict in Donbass as “The war between the United States and Russia in which brothers kill each other.” He was later blacklisted as a notorious “peacemaker” for “Russian Propaganda”.
Earlier this year, Zelensky banned most of Ukraine’s opposition parties and established state control over mainstream media, citing the ongoing conflict with Russia.
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