Ukrainian authorities detain alleged spy in security service

KYIV, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Investigators have detained a Ukrainian security official on suspicion of spying for Russia, authorities said on Thursday, part of an effort by Kyiv to weed out moles nearly a year into a war with Russia.

The official - a lieutenant colonel in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) which joined the operation - had revealed the location of military checkpoints and other "secret information", the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) said.

He allegedly sent the data to his Russian handlers via email and a messaging app. A search turned up mobile phones, Russian SIM cards, cash and other evidence proving "longstanding ties" to Russian state and law enforcement structures, the SBI added.

"Today the service works as a single team and is doing the maximum for Ukraine's victory," said SBU chief Vasyl Malyuk in a separate statement.

"And the self-cleansing of our ranks from traitors is an important part of this process."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy fired the previous SBU director, a childhood friend, last July citing collaboration with Russia by officials in the powerful agency.

The search for spies and saboteurs - in everything from recently liberated territories to Russia-linked churches across Ukraine - is a key part of Ukraine's defence against Moscow's invasion, now in its 12th month.

Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.