The Russian spy chief who allegedly oversaw the attacks on the Skripals in the UK has died.
Colonel-General Igor Korobov, 62, who has run Russian spy agency the GRU since 2016, died on Wednesday, the Russian defence ministry said today.
The UK government has accused the GRU of being behind the nerve agent attacks on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March.
The Netherlands blamed the GRU for attempting to hack into the global chemicals watchdog in the Hague earlier this year, while the US has said the GRU tried to hack the 2016 US presidential election.
Russia denies those allegations.
In the aftermath of the Skripal debacle it was reported that Korobov had been severely criticised by Vladimir Putin.
The Russian defence ministry said Korobov he had died after a “serious and long illness” and described him as a “true son of Russia”.
Russian news agency Tass said Vice-Admiral Igor Kostyukov, the agency’s first deputy head, had been standing in for Korobov during his illness and was favourite to take over his role.
The last head of the GRU, Igor Sergun, also died at a relatively young age. He was just 58 when the Kremlin said in 2016 he had died unexpectedly.