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Putin said to be conducting internal purge of military generals, intel personnel

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via videolink in Moscow on March 11, 2022. (Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via videolink in Moscow on March 11, 2022. (Mikhail KLIMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be conducting purges of military generals and intelligence personnel, including arrests of FSB (Federal Security Service) officers, according to an analysis by the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, which cited Ukrainian officials and media reports.

The institute says that Ukrainian Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov estimated on Wednesday, March 9, that Putin had replaced at least eight generals “due to their failures in Ukraine” and authorities have detained personnel from the FSB’s 5th Service, which the institute says is responsible for gathering information on the political situation in Ukraine.

According to Ukrainian outlets and a report in an independent Russian outlet, the head of the 5th service, Sergey Beseda, and his deputy Anatoly Bolyukh were under house arrest on Friday.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, launching a military assault that has targeted civilian areas and laying siege to a number of Ukrainian cities by the 17th day of the onslaught. But the invasion has been slowed by an array of failings, including a lack of coordination between air and ground forces and an inability to fully dominate Ukraine’s skies.

Russia is also said to have sustained many casualties and destroyed equipment and vehicles, as the Ukrainian resistance is reported to have surprised Moscow.

Although a detailed picture of the unfolding war is difficult to acquire, American and European officials and analysts say the Russians started slowly and have since been hobbled by a combination of inadequate planning, flawed tactics, and possibly an erosion of spirit among troops not ready to fight.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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