According to Andrei Soldatov, editor, and co-founder of a watchdog that keeps track of the Russian secret services’ activities, an agitated Vladimir Putin has placed one of his top FSB spy chiefs under house arrest.

The editor of Agentura claims that sources inside the FSB have confirmed to him that Sergey Beseda, who is head of the foreign intelligence branch for the FSB, along with his deputy, Anatoly Bolyukh, have both been arrested.

Exiled Russian human rights activist, Vladimir Osechkin, also confirmed the report. He also intimated that colleagues of the pair, suspected of leaking information to journalists, have had their homes searched in at least 20 addresses in Moscow.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Osechkin said an accusation that the two men had been arrested on accusations of fund embezzlement was simply a smokescreen to cover the reality. He claimed the “real reason is unreliable, incomplete, and partially false information about the political situation in Ukraine”.

It is thought these arrests could lead to big changes at the top of the FSB

The arrests of both men are known to western officials but they can not confirm it 100 per cent they said. They did imply though that if Putin has carried out this action, then it shows his grave concern about the intelligence he had received prior to the invasion, and will surely lead to reform at the top of the FSB.

Reports and assessments presented to the Russian leader in advance of his launching the incursion into Ukraine were clearly “terribly miscalculated”, Mr Soldatov told The Times. The Agentura editor implied that the FSB could well have provided the correct intelligence but that his top people are always afraid to “tell Putin what he doesn’t want to hear, so they tailor their information”, as reported by