Vladimir Putin has reportedly fired one of his top generals on Thursday as Russia continues to incur huge losses and face tough resistance against the Ukrainian army. According to reports, General Roman Gavrilov, 45, the deputy leader of Putin's Rosgvardia force - or National Guard - has been jailed after allegations that he "leaked information" and "squandered" vital fuel.
According to investigative news website Bellingcat, news of Gavrilov's detention by the Russian Federation's Federal Security Service (FSB) was reported by three reliable sources. This comes amid reports that head of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina, 58, has reportedly resigned amid claims that she stood up to Putin over his war in Ukraine.
News of Gavrilov's arrest comes as Russia continues to face tough resistance from Ukrainian forces. According to Christo Grozev, a Bulgarian investigative journalist, the reason behind his arrest is unknown.
Grozev said that it is most likely that Gavrilov was held due to "leaks of military information that resulted in loss of life," while two others claim it was due to "wasteful squandering of fuel."
According to Russian newspaper Pravda, Putin is sending elite Rosgvardia special forces into the fight against Ukraine. The outlet also mentioned a number of casualties the unit had already suffered.
Gavrilov was named deputy chief of the National Guard in June after serving 10 years in the country's Federal Guard Service, according to the unit's website. However, ever since the attack on Ukraine, his Rosgvardia force has sustained enormous losses of life since entering Ukraine.
The military unit was in charge of Russia's opening offensive against its eastern European neighbor, which Putin had anticipated would be over in a matter of days. However, the war has now entered its third week, without much success for Putin's forces.
Although western newspapers and outlets have reported Gavrilov's arrest, Russia has denied the claims. Russian State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein, denied that Gavrilov was arrested, commenting on Telegram: "Absolutely fake. I just spoke with General Gavrilov," according to ura.ru.
However, the Times reported that besides Gavrilov, Sergey Beseda, head of the FSB's foreign intelligence branch, has also been arrested along with Anatoly Bolyukh, his deputy. While the official allegations are related to financial malfeasance, the actual motive is most likely Putin's rage at receiving what he calls "unreliable, incomplete and partially false information about the political situation in Ukraine."
Pentagon officials say that Putin is "angry and frustrated" at his army's lack of progress and may be willing to cause "even more violence and destruction" in a bid to force President Zelenskyy to surrender.
News of Gavrilov's arrest comes after Zelensky's security council, Oleksiy Danilov, last week said that "about eight" Russian commanders had been ousted since the crisis began, as Moscow hurried to shift strategy after its attempted "shock and awe" assault failed.
Putin was also claimed to be furious at leaders of the FSB security service, which he used to lead, for providing him with intelligence implying that Ukraine was weak, infested with neo-Nazi groups, and would surrender easily if attacked.
Putin was clearly "very unhappy," according to Philip Ingram, a security specialist and former senior British intelligence official, who told The Times that he was blaming his intelligence institutions.