Putin sacks top general in charge of secret poison lab in row over Ukraine war

Vladimir Putin has fired the secret police chief in charge of a clandestine laboratory developing poisons in a row over the Ukraine war.

Colonel-General Eduard Chernovoltsev, 52, was employed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to oversee the NII-2 FSB research institute.

NII-2 FSB is thought to have a secret lab where poisons are developed. Chernovoltsev's staff were reportedly involved in the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with nerve agent Novichok.

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A source told The Insider, an investigative and independent Russian news site, that the senior intelligence chief was unhappy when Putin launched his "special military operation" in February, as he had previously lived in Kyiv.

Chernovoltsev "greatly regretted the start of the military operation in Ukraine and, in the company of his friends, said more than once that it has all gone too far", the source said.

Those above Chernovoltsev are thought to have considered his comments disloyal.

Sources also said that the Kremlin blamed him for repeated leaks of databases, sometimes containing information about Putin's close associates.

"Two years ago Eduard [Chernovoltsev] swore an oath to the country's leadership that he would block all channels of leaks,” one said.

"But in our leaky system this was almost impossible."

Another report claims that he was caught drink driving twice by traffic police – and that he was an FSB general at the time of the second incident.

He was said to have refused a medical inspection and was helped so that he avoided any criminal sanction.

Chernovoltsev was an extremely successful FSB agent and had also been in charge of the 8th FSB Centre (overseeing Information Protection), the FSB Special Equipment Centre and the FSB Special Communications Directorate.

The only known picture of Chernovoltsev dates to 2018.

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