Putin to be held to account over chemical weapons says Heappey
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The Russian President has reportedly removed officers from the FSB security service in a desperate bid to identify leaks to the West. As the war in Ukraine enters its seventh week, Russian forces have failed to make further significant progress.
On Monday, a report claimed Colonel-General Sergei Beseda, head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence unit, has been moved to Moscow’s high-security Lefortovo where he is in pre-trial detention.
He is allegedly being held on official charges of embezzlement but it is reported that he will face questions over the invasion and be blamed for poor intelligence and leaks.
Commenting on emerging reports, Phillips P.OBrien, professor of Strategic Studies at St Andrews University, said Putin is under the “weirdest delusion”.
He tweeted: “Putin now charging people left and right with embezzlement.
“The weirdest delusion he seems to be labouring under is that while he actually established an inefficient, corrupt, kleptocracy, that when war came his state would fight like Sparta.”
Investigative website Bellingate reports that other FSB officials have been detained for “reporting false information to the Kremlin about the real situation in Ukraine before the invasion”.
Co-chair of the European Council Carl Bildt said the “knives are really out” in Moscow if the arrests are true.
Expert on Russian security Andrei Soldatov told The Times Putin is sending a “very strong message” to other officials in Russia.
The latest update from Russia almost a month ago said only 1,351 troops had died. However, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted Russia had suffered “significant losses”, describing it as a “huge tragedy”.
Mr Peskov continued to insist it is not a “war” but a “special military operation”.
Putin said Russia would undoubtedly achieve what he said were its “clear and noble” objectives.
Putin said the main objective of Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine was to save people in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
“On the one hand, we are helping and saving people, and on the other, we are simply taking measures to ensure the security of Russia itself,” Putin said. “It’s clear that we didn’t have a choice. It was the right decision.”
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On Monday night, Russian forces appeared to launch the next scale of the invasion after reports of a poisonous substance” on civilians in Mariupol.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the move was a “callous” chemical attack.
Armed forces minister James Heappey echoed this saying “all options are on the table” if the reports are confirmed.
Ukraine is trying to verify the reports with deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar saying: “There is a theory that these could be phosphorous munitions. Official information will come later.”
Russia has previously accused Ukraine of preparing to use chemical weapons, without providing evidence.
Last month, the Kremlin said US talk of Russia using such weapons was a tactic to divert attention away from awkward questions for Washington.
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