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Who is Putin’s new spy chief in Ukraine?

The 61-year-old general, believed to be responsible for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, was installed in a Putin purge of the secret services after the blunders of the invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin removed Russia’s main secret service agency, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB), from its role as the main spy agency for the invasion of Ukraine, handing the task over to the Main Directorate of the General Staff of Forces. Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU), a heavily militarized arm of the Russian armed forces.

In charge of the GRU, and in charge of overseeing the spying of the Ukrainian resistance to the invasion, is Vladimir Alekseyev, a 61-year-old general heavily involved in some of the most caustic Russian attacks on the West: he is accused by the United Kingdom of orchestrating the chemical weapons attack. of Salisbury in 2018, known for poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the US for directly interfering in the 2016 US presidential election, which elected Donald Trump.

The information was released by independent investigative journalists Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov, who claim that Putin’s discontent with the FSB stemmed from “a disastrous start to the war”, including the publication by Western media of Russian invasion plans. days before they occur, and results below expectations. Accused of not correctly informing the president, the former leader of the FSB, Sergei Beseda, was placed under house arrest and transferred to prison, but is now at liberty.

Borogan and Soldatov describe Alekseyev, the new head of Russian intelligence in Ukraine, as “a very particular type of Russian military intelligence agent.” In the absence of a conventional office position, he began his military career in the special forces and was soon transferred to the GRU to lead Spetsnaz, the agency’s paramilitary arm, rising to deputy chief in 2011.

Alekseyev is also an experienced soldier in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, having been involved in the conflicts in the Donbass region whose independence was recognized by Russia at the outbreak of the war – the breakaway republics of Lugansk and Donetsk. The general’s remaining résumé includes GRU military operations in Syria, the poisoning of Skripal in the United Kingdom, and interference in American elections, which earned Alekseyev sanctions in the United States and the European Union.

According to Borogan and Soldatov, the general is seen by other Russian Armed Forces officers as “brutal and self-confident, sometimes to the point of recklessness”, and is part of a strategy by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu to promote members of the armed forces. special to high-ranking intelligence officers – agents who “may not have the soft skills of other intelligence officers, but they are tough men and ready to kill.”

On March 30, the New York Times reported that the Russian president was being misinformed about the course of the war, according to information gathered by US intelligence agencies. General Alekseyev’s position in the Russian military hierarchy is higher than that of the former head of the FSB, which suggests that Putin is redoubling his espionage efforts to subdue Ukraine.

Source: With Agencies

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