Days ahead of Ukraine’s hotly anticipated second round presidential run-off, a spy scandal has broken out involving Kiev’s former political master, Moscow.
Ukraine says five Russians were caught red handed trying to obtain military secrets. The alleged operatives were arrested in the region of Odessa. Four have been expelled while the fifth has been held on espionage charges. The arrests are politically sensitive with relations with the Kremlin an election issue.
Presidential frontrunner Victor Yanukovich is pushing for warmer ties with Moscow after they deteriorated in recent years. The other contender, Julia Tymoshenko, favours a more pro-European stance. On Monday, a televised face to face debate between the two hopefuls, ahead of the February 7 ballot, turned into a one sided affair when only Tymoshenko turned up.