Head of Russia’s military intelligence service dies
The head of Russia’s military intelligence service, Igor Sergun, has died at the age of 58.
Lieutenant General Sergun was “a true officer, an experienced and competent commander, a person of great courage and a true patriot,” President Vladimir Putin said in a statement on Monday.
Sergun died on January 3, the defense ministry said.
The ministry did not disclose the cause of his death.
Sergun, who headed Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) since 2011, had been listed among other Russian authorities on the US and EU sanctions lists over the issue of Ukraine.
Sergun’s successor has yet to be announced.
The European Union claimed that Sergun had been “responsible for the activity of GRU officers in eastern Ukraine.”
The West accuses Russia of involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Moscow denies the allegation. The conflict has left more than 9,000 people dead since April 2014.
GRU is Russia’s most secretive government agency. It traces its history back to 1918 in the early months of the Bolshevik revolution. Unlike other Russian secret services it did not change its name after the collapse of the Soviet Union.