A COMMANDER in charge of defending Moscow from Ukrainian kamikaze drone attacks has been arrested on suspicion of bribery.
Major-General Konstantin Ogienko has been removed from his post protecting the Russian capital’s skies and placed in pre-trial custody over a whopping £250,000 bribe.
It comes as another commander, Major-General Dmitry Belyatsky, is under house arrest in the same case.
They two are suspected of arranging bribes to sell land owned by the air defence.
It's unclear if the two are are being punished by Putin for failing to stop Ukrainian drones which have bombarded the Kremlin and key Moscow skyscrapers.
But the scandal within Moscow has come as the city is facing a siege each day from Ukrainian drones.
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Putin has urgently tried to tighten his air defences amid fears that Kyiv drones are too easily penetrating the capital’s shield.
Belyatsky has entered a plea bargain and partially admitted his guilt, but pointed the finger at his colleague Ogienko, according to Kommersant.
A major probe is underway to see how many plots of land owned by air defence have been sold to developers to line their pockets.
They may have accepted bribes of up to £250,000 but the pair had only received around £4,000 before they were caught.
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Ogienko, who strongly denies the bribery accusation, could face up to 15 years in the gulag if convicted.
Two other corruption investigations are underway into the theft of defence ministry property.
Notorious General Sergei ‘Armageddon’ Surovikin, 56, once in overall control of Russia’s war effort, is believed to have been held for more than two months in custody.
He's been interrogated over his role in the coup led by Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin who was last month killed in a plane crash.
A picture of him with his wife suggested he is now released, and there are claims he will get a new job – not directly involving the war.
Major-General Ivan Popov, 48, who led Russia’s 58th army, is believed to have been detained after a leaked voice message revealed his criticism of Vlad.
Multiple members of the Russian top brass have been detained or suspended in a mass purge as Putin's defence chief roots out the "bad blood" in the Kremlin.
Last month, a Russian general who knew the secrets of Putin's top secret £1billion palace died in jail.
A series of Putin's cronies have died in mysterious circumstances since war broke out in Ukraine.
Colonel-General Gennady Zhidko, 58, had been found dead from an unknown illness after being purged from the military command.
Lopyrev meanwhile suddenly fell ill on Monday and as he gasped for breath doctors told him he had previously undiagnosed leukaemia.
But there are suspicions he was poisoned just as he became eligible for parole.
The general was jailed for ten years in 2017 by a military court after being accused of bribe-taking and illegal possession of ammunition – charges he always denied.
Serving in the Federal Protection Service [FSO], he personally oversaw the construction of Putin’s clifftop Gelendzhik Palace, a private residence allegedly built with state cash.
He was also responsible for the dictator’s official residence Bocharov Ruchei in Sochi.
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Until he was caged, he had been one of Putin's closest security aides and was seen with the Russian president and then British premier Tony Blair in Moscow in 2002.
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