Putin purges more than 100 FSB agents in apparent retaliation amid Ukrainian invasion quagmire


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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine doesn’t seem to be going as planned, and President Vladimir Putin seems determined to blame his former colleagues in the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) – the intelligence agency that succeeded the KGB – for the quagmire.

Putin is said to have purged more than 100 FSB agents, and his government sent the head of the department responsible for Ukraine to prison.

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Around 150 FSB officers have been fired, The Times of London reported on Monday. The ousted agents belonged to the Fifth Service, a division that Putin – then director of the FSB – created in 1998 to carry out operations in the countries of the former Soviet Union, aimed at keeping these countries in Russia’s orbit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed flight attendants in comments broadcast on state television on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
(Reuters video)

Authorities placed Sergei Beseda, the former head of the Fifth Service, under house arrest last month. He has since been moved to the FSB-run Lefortovo prison in Moscow, The Times reported. The NKVD, the KGB’s predecessor, used the prison for interrogation and torture during Stalin’s Great Purge in the 1930s.

The move sent a “very strong message” to other Russian elites, Andrei Soldatov, an expert at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), told The Times.

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“I was surprised by that,” Soldatov said. “Putin could have very easily fired him or sent him to a regional post in Siberia. Lefortovo is not a nice place and sending him there shows how seriously Putin takes this stuff.”

In this image taken from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 8, 2022.

In this image taken from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 8, 2022.
(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Soldatov suggested that Russian authorities might suspect Beseda of passing information to the CIA.

Analysts previously told Fox News that Beseda’s house arrest appeared to be a form of retaliation for intelligence mistakes in Ukraine.

Soldatov said that the Fifth Service represents “the most sensitive department of the FSB department, which is in charge of espionage in Ukraine. And now it seems that Vladimir Putin has finally understood that the intelligence he received before the invasion weren’t extremely accurate. And he started looking around trying to find someone to blame.”

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As Russian troops fight to gain ground in Ukraine, Moscow is also waging an intelligence war. The US FBI announced last week that it had halted a Russian military hacking scheme to set up a “botnet” on the devices of victims in the US and elsewhere. At the end of last month, Ukrainian intelligence services published an alleged list of over 600 Russian spies.

Representative Ritchie Torres, D.N.Y., called the FBI to investigate the Russian diplomatic compound, located in New York, which experts have previously said Fox News Digital harbors diplomats who are in the United States to spy on America.

A view of the Russian Diplomatic Complex at 355 West 255th Street;  Inset: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)

A view of the Russian Diplomatic Complex at 355 West 255th Street; Inset: Russian President Vladimir Putin (Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Google Maps)

“We were appalled and alarmed by Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine. We were appalled by his war crimes against the Ukrainian people, and it is in this context that I officially request the FBI to investigate reports of espionage at the Russian diplomatic compound,” Torres told reporters Tuesday of the White Tower. located at 355 West 255th Streetin the borough of the Bronx.

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The Bronx Democrat called it “both metaphorically and literally an oversight structure.”


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