Listen Live

Vladimir Putin

The head of the Federal Security Service’s secret chemical laboratories, Colonel-General Eduard Chernovoltsev, has been removed for criticising the war in Ukraine.

A source told independent media The Insider that Chernovoltsev had previously lived in Kyiv and was unhappy about the war which started in February.

He ‘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’, said a source. These comments were viewed as disloyal by the Kremlin, leading to Chernovoltsev’s removal from his position.

Officially, the FSB said that Chernovoltsev was no longer in his position because he had reached retirement age, despite him only being 52 years old, well below the retirement age.

During his career, Colonel-General Eduard Chernovoltsev was allegedly directly involved in the poisonings of Russian opposition figures Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Kara-Murza. According to the Daily Mail report, Chernovoltsev’s staff at the NII-2 FSB were involved in the use of the nerve agent Novichok against both men. Navalny was nearly killed in a poisoning attack during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, while Kara-Murza was allegedly poisoned on two separate occasions in 2015 and 2017. Both of them are currently held as political prisoners in Russia.