Home U.S Putin places head of the FSB's foreign intelligence branch under house arrest

Putin places head of the FSB's foreign intelligence branch under house arrest

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Vladimir Putin has placed the head of the FSB’s foreign service and his deputy under house arrest after blaming them for intelligence failings that saw his army handed a series of embarrassing defeats in Ukraine, it has been claimed.

Andrey Soldatov, a respected author on the Russian secret services, said sources inside the FSB told him that Sergey Beseda, 68, head of the agency’s foreign service, has been placed under arrest on Putin’s orders.

Also arrested is Anatoly Bolyukh, Beseda’s deputy, according to Soldatov, who said Putin is ‘truly unhappy’ with the agency – which he ran before becoming president.  

Sergey Orestovich Beseda (pictured) head of the FSB's foreign service, has reportedly been placed under house arrest after the intelligence service took the blame for the war's progress

Sergey Orestovich Beseda (pictured) head of the FSB’s foreign service, has reportedly been placed under house arrest after the intelligence service took the blame for the war’s progress

Anatoly Bolyukh, deputy head of the 5th Service of the Federal Security Service and head of the operational information department, has also reportedly been arrested

Anatoly Bolyukh, deputy head of the 5th Service of the Federal Security Service and head of the operational information department, has also reportedly been arrested

Putin reportedly blames his intelligence agencies for misleading him over the extent of Ukraine's resistance to Russian attack

Putin reportedly blames his intelligence agencies for misleading him over the extent of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian attack

Andrey Soldatov is a respected author on the Russian secret services, who said on Friday that sources inside the FSB told him officials had been placed under house arrest

Andrey Soldatov is a respected author on the Russian secret services, who said on Friday that sources inside the FSB told him officials had been placed under house arrest

Putin is said to blame the agency for intelligence which assured him ahead of the invasion that Russian forces would face only token resistance from the Ukrainian army and that Ukrainians themselves were eager to be rid of their leaders.

Among the reasons for the repressions are the embezzlement of funds allocated for subversive and undercover work in Ukraine, as well as deliberately false information about the political situation in Ukraine. 

The FSB security service allegedly handed him intelligence suggesting that Ukraine was weak, riddled with neo-Nazi groups, and would give up easily if attacked. 

In fact, the Russian armed forces have faced fierce resistance from Ukrainian soldiers that has battled them to a standstill, inflicted heavy losses, and forced Putin’s commanders to resort to brutal siege warfare that has so far yielded few results.

Meanwhile Ukrainian civilians have rallied behind their government and the inspirational leadership of Volodymyr Zelensky, staging protests in areas that Russians have occupied, while sabotaging their tanks and capturing vehicles. 

It comes after multiple reports said Putin was ‘fuming’ at the FSB for assuring him that his soldiers would meet little resistance when invading Ukraine, turning on his intelligence service and blaming them for the blunder. 

Earlier today, Putin was said to have sacked his top generals and is ‘raging’ at the FSB after failed intelligence and poor strategy saw his troops handed a series of embarrassing defeats in the opening days of the war in Ukraine.

Oleksiy Danilov, head of Ukraine’s security council, said ‘around eight’ Russian commanders have been fired since the start of the conflict as Moscow scrambles to change strategy after its attempted ‘shock and awe’ blitz fell flat.

Soldatov previously told The Times that most FSB agents are brought into the service as legacy hires based on their parents or grandparents being agents and are removed from mainstream schools to be educated in-house.

This is unlike western security services, which tend to recruit from elite universities or colleges to ensure they get ‘the cream of the crop’.

A charred Russian tank and captured tanks are seen, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in the Sumy region, Ukraine, March 7

A charred Russian tank and captured tanks are seen, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in the Sumy region, Ukraine, March 7

Destroyed Russian armoured column reportedly in Brovary just east of Kyiv

Destroyed Russian armoured column reportedly in Brovary just east of Kyiv

Dead bodies are put into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine

Dead bodies are put into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine

Destroyed Russian tanks are seen on a main road after battles near Brovary, north of Kyiv

Destroyed Russian tanks are seen on a main road after battles near Brovary, north of Kyiv 

Alternatively, he said, the organisation did gather good intelligence – but was simply too afraid to tell Putin the truth, instead doctoring their reports to appease him. 

That poor decision making has led to Russia suffering much higher casualties than it expected in its attack, which has now been going on for over two weeks.

It seems Moscow had anticipated little resistance when it sent in light forces backed by airstrikes to seize key targets during the opening days, but was met with punishing counter-attacks.

Reliable numbers are hard to come by, but Ukraine believes Russia has lost up to 12,000 men in a fortnight.

European intelligence puts it lower – between 6,000 and 9,000 – and US lower still, at up to 3,000.

Whichever proves accurate, it is almost certainly more than Putin anticipated when he launched the attack in the hope that fighting would be over in just a few days.

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