Theresa May 'aware' of reports of Russian spy visited Downing Street

The man, named as Stanislav Yezhov, has been arrested in Ukraine

Theresa May 'aware' of reports of Russian spy visited Downing Street

Picture by: Alastair Grant/AP/Press Association Images

The British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is "aware" of claims that a Russian spy who visited Downing Street has been arrested in Ukraine.

She made the admission in a news conference in Poland, a day after a picture emerged on social media showing the man in the Number 10 residence.

He has been named as Stanislav Yezhov, the official translator for the Ukrainian prime minister.

Ukraine's security service, the SBU, says he was recruited by the Russians while working abroad.

He previously served in the Ukrainian embassy in the United States.

It is believed he was in the room with Mrs May for private bilateral talks last July because the Ukrainian prime minister does not speak good English.

Mrs May, when asked if she was concerned about reports of a Russian spy she was photographed alongside in Downing Street, said: "I'm aware of the reports in relation to the Ukrainian individual who attended Downing Street earlier in the summer.

"The action that has been taken is a matter for the Ukrainian authorities."

The Kyiv Post, Ukraine's main English language newspaper, said he had been detained on suspicion of espionage for Russia on Wednesday.

He has served as the deputy head of the protocol for the Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

The SBU has opened a case investigating whether he has committed treason after he is suspected of collecting inside information about the activities of Ukrainian cabinet ministers.

He also previously worked for Ukraine's Slovenia embassy and ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in the Ukrainian revolution of 2014, amid allegations of political corruption.

The Ukrainska Pravda news agency claimed government sources said he had been under surveillance for months.

The meeting that Mr Yezhov attended to translate involved discussions on "the importance of maintaining sanctions on Russia to keep up political pressure until the full implementation of the Minsk Agreement" and "the importance of improving the capability of the Ukrainian armed forces", Downing Street said.

It came as the Press Association reported bizarre scenes in the House of Commons earlier when a mystery man was ejected from the public gallery for "filming and taking pictures" during a debate on Russian interference in UK politics.

A spokesman for Mrs May said he was unable to talk about "security matters".

But he added: "Security in Downing Street is kept permanently under review. On what was discussed at the meeting that the PM had with her Ukranian counterpart, we did a readout at the time, which is in the public domain."