Here’s why Putin’s spy network was hit with ‘a potentially crippling blow’
Kremlin photo of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin talking on the phone.

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin got his start in the Soviet Union's KGB, but his intelligence networks are now facing a crisis.

"In the international game of spy vs. spy, Europe has dealt Russia a potentially crippling blow," The Washington Post reported Thursday. "Nearly two dozen European countries have expelled hundreds of Russian government personnel from embassies and consulates since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February and more recently was accused of war crimes against civilians. A significant number are probably spies posing as diplomats, according to U.S. and European officials."

Putin rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel as a KGB foreign intelligence officer. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he briefly served as director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the primary successor of the KGB.

"In the past six weeks, European officials have asked nearly 400 Russian diplomats to leave their postings, according to a tally by The Washington Post. Notably, countries that have long tried to avoid confrontation with Moscow are among those declaring Russian diplomats persona non grata," the newspaper reported. "A senior European diplomat called it a 'major disruption' to Russia’s intelligence work in Europe, potentially a permanent one. The Kremlin will have difficulty replenishing its intelligence ranks, the diplomat said."