A new blame game has erupted in Russia's secret services over the 'bogus' intelligence that led President Vladimir Putin to believing his troops would be welcomed in Ukraine with open arms, media reports said.
Much of the blame is being pointed at the door of the FSB's 5th Service for gathering 'worthless' information that misled Putin and left him "the most uninformed person to decide about the war", Daily Mail reported.
Disputed reports in April stated that Col-General Sergei Beseda, 68, head of the 5th Service, and his deputy, Anatoly Bolyukh, had been detained in April either under house arrest or under pre-trial detention for leaking plans and embezzling funds.
The 5th Service is known as the foreign spying arm of the Federal Security Service (FSB), charged primarily with intelligence and political subversion in former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
It is also reportedly in-charge of the Kremlin's 'kill list' of Ukrainian senior officials and other dissidents who live in Ukraine, Daily Mail reported.
Sources have told IStories, a media outlet linked to Russia's top investigative journalists, that "the level of professionalism there is worthless".
In fact, Putin was forced to abort his plan to grab Kiev, and has only gained control of a devastated and unrecognisable Mariupol after almost three months of fighting.
Beseda's agents were "selling air" instead of providing hard and reliable data, according to IStories.
"They would over or misinterpret information, sometimes they would make up things completely," said a former FSB officer.
"The senior executives used to believe all of this nonsense. For instance, they would report that the regions of Ukraine did not have any real connection with the Kyiv government and would run towards Russia should they have a chance to do so," the officer added.
( 315 Words)