Colonel-General Igor Korobov received a verbal thrashing from Russian President Vladimir Putin over his handling of the Noivchok poisoning in the United Kingdom, according to reports, even while Russia has denied being responsible for the attack. Shortly thereafter, he died.
According to the Daily Star, Igor Korobox, 63, was said to have died on Wednesday.
The word came from Russia’s defence ministry.
Korobox was chief of GRU military intelligence agency in Russia.
The Daily Star reports:
The spy agency has been blamed for a string of brazen attacks in the West.
The UK accused Russia of attempting to poison former spy and double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury.
Colonel-General Korobov, along with other GRU officers, was sanctioned by the United States for activities that “undermine cybersecurity on behalf of the Russian government.”
The Russian defence ministry called Korobov, who ran the spy agency since 2016, “a wonderful person, a faithful son of Russia and a patriot of his homeland.”
Further details about his death have not been released.
Last month, Korobov was said to have been in “sudden ill-health” after a dressing down from Vladimir Putin over his handling of the Novichok poisoning.
A secret meeting at the Russian Defence Ministry – responsible for the GRU – heard furious accusations over the “morons” behind spy operations in Britain, the Netherlands and the US.
Those in charge of the catastrophic blunders were denounced for their “deep incompetence” nand “infinite carelessness”.
Korovov is said to have gone straight home to his elite high-security dacha complex after his meeting with Putin.
A clean-out in the military spy agency was expected after the disastrous operations, with Korobov facing the axe, it was claimed.
According to ABC News, Korobov died of cancer.
The Defense Ministry said Thursday in a statement that Korobov, who led the GRU since 2016, died Wednesday of “a lengthy and grave illness,” a usual Russian euphemism for cancer. His predecessor had died two years earlier, at 58.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to Korobov’s family but did not immediately name his successor.
“He dedicated his life to serving the Fatherland, defending national interests and strengthening security of our state,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.
The GRU has been accused of hacking the 2016 US presidential campaign and using a nerve agent earlier this year against former GRU officer Sergei Skripal, an exiled double agent, was poisoned along with his daughter by a rare nerve agent in Salisbury, England.
Korobov is the second head of Russian military intelligence to die within the past two years.
Korobov took charge of the GRU in January 2016 after his predecessor, Igor Sergun, died at age 58 under unclear circumstances. His death first became public after the Kremlin published Putin’s condolences to Sergun’s family.
No replacement has been named yet for Korobov, though TASS reports it’s likely to be his deputy, Vice Admiral Igor Kostyukov, 57, who took part in Russia’s military intervention in Syria and is also under U.S. sanctions.
This is pretty concerning. Two heads of Russian military dying within 2 years and no specifics on their deaths? Furthermore, the surrounding controversy over what they were tied to makes this even more interesting, don’t you think?
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