Vladimir Putin is under pressure as Russian spies are reportedly turning on the Kremlin boss blaming him for the failures of the ” special military operation “.
Russian spooks are said to be at odds with Putin over the handling of their invasion, an expert on the Russian secret service has said.
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As a result, Putin is said to have launched a purge of his intelligence services, including the spies from the Fifth Service group of the Federal Security Bureau – the department who were working on Ukraine .
This group is believed to have been working in Ukraine for years to try and destabilise the country ahead of the invasion.
Putin’s rage is said to be over the wasted resources after the activities now appear to have been fruitless as Russian troops continue to face fierce Ukrainian resistance.
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Spy chief Sergei Beseda, 68, has reportedly been sent to a prison in Moscow for “reporting false information to the Kremlin about the real situation in Ukraine before the invasion”.
Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the Russian security services, said that Putin’s arrest of Beseda sends a “strong message” to the other elites who may consider challenging the Kremlin boss.
He said: “Putin could have very easily just fired him or sent him off to some regional job in Siberia. Lefortovo is not a nice place and sending him there is a signal as to how seriously Putin takes this stuff.”
Mr Soldatov also said that in general, the top spies can see “that things aren’t going well”.
It comes as Russia analyst Alexey Muraviev speculates that Putin faces a “potential coup” from within his ranks.
He said: “I think that there have been tensions between Russia and the intelligence community and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin .
“Because clearly, there’s been a clear error of judgment that was made and it was probably driven by Putin himself about the situation in Ukraine.
“About the initial planning and the initial phase of the invasion where the Russian military naturally assume that they’re going there as liberators rather than the invaders.
“I think that sort of false narrative was presented to them by the Supreme Commander in Chief, and when it fired back when the Russians began taking heavy casualties, Putin began quietly blaming the security services.
“Which I don’t think went really well also because he’s coming from within the security apparatus.”
Christo Grozev, executive director of Bellingcat, was the first to report on Putin’s purge.
He said: “I can say that although a significant number of them have not been arrested they will no longer work for the FSB.”
It comes as Putin has vowed that troops will use “weapons of unprecedented characteristics” after reports emerged of his soldiers deploying illegal chemical weapons in Ukraine .
The warmongering president was surrounded by security officers as he touched down in the far eastern region of Amur this morning to visit a space port in commemoration of the Soviet’s first manned space mission.
At a press conference shortly after, he vowed Russian troops have been using “weapons of unprecedented characteristics” in what seemed to be a veiled threat at NATO .
In so-called “warm words” to soldiers on the ground, he said they are “acting effectively” in their military operation refocused on the pro-Russia Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
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