The officers are believed to be from the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB, some of whom have been removed while others have reportedly been arrested
Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
A mass purge of 150 security officers was ordered by Vladimir Putin after the botched invasion of Ukraine, reports say.
The officers are believed to be from the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB, some of whom have been removed while others have reportedly been arrested.
All of the displaced are said to have been employees of the Fifth Service, a department set up in 1998 when Putin was director of the FSB to conduct operations in former Soviet Union countries.
Colonel-General Sergei Beseda, 68, head of the 5th branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB), was under house arrest.
He has now been remanded in the notorious Lefortovo prison, suggesting he faces serious charges of intelligence failure, sources say.
The purge was reported by Christo Grozev, executive director of Bellingcat, an investigative news organization.
He claimed the official was fired for “reporting false information to the Kremlin about the actual situation in Ukraine before the invasion”.
Grozev told Popular Politics, a YouTube channel on current Russian affairs: “I can say that although a significant number of them have not been arrested, they will no longer work for the FSB.”
Putin had been persuaded by intelligence briefings that his troops would be welcomed by many Ukrainians and that a quick victory would be won.
In reality, they have met relentless resistance.
The move is seen as a warning to other senior Putin aides who are expected to take the blame for the staggering Russian death toll in Ukraine.
Beseda’s case is being investigated by the Investigative Committee’s Military Investigative Branch, said Russian intelligence expert Andrei Soldierov, who uncovered the Lefortovo move.
Beseda, in charge of FSB intelligence and political subversion in the former USSR, had been on a trip to Ukraine shortly before his arrest.
Putin is said to fear that moles have leaked invasion plans to the West, and Beseda was arrested along with his deputy, Anatoly Boljukh, but has so far been under house arrest.
Beseda has long been a Putin intelligence operative and since 2009 has been the head of the 5th service of the FSB.
Boljukh’s current status is unclear and Russia has not confirmed his arrest.
Last month, Putin also fired the deputy chief of the Russian National Guard.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/furious-putin-orders-purge-150-26690877 Furious Putin 'orders purge of 150 secret agents' after botched Ukraine invasion - World News