The Head of the Russian Military Intelligence Agency Col.-Gen. Igor Korobov, who Britain accused of poisoning a former double agent with a chemical weapon in Southern England this year has died.
Korobov, 62, had served as chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate, commonly known by the Russian acronym GRU, for nearly three years.
A distinguished aviator, Korobov died of a “serious and long illness,’’ the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, using a phrase that implies cancer.
Korobov’s agency entered the international spotlight this year when Britain accused it of perpetrating the near-fatal attack on former Russian spy turned double agent Sergei Skripal in the southern English city of Salisbury.
Britain and other Western powers have also accused the agency of committing cyberattacks, including attempts to influence the U.S. electoral process.
Russia has denied all such accusations.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was cited in the statement as expressing condolences over Korobov’s death, which occurred on Wednesday, but he did not name a successor.
Russian state media reported that the most probable successor is the agency’s first deputy chief, Igor Kostyukov, currently serving as the interim chief.
The U.S. earlier imposed sanctions on Kostyukov upon implicating the agency in cyberattacks.