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Top spy Igor Korobov, head of Russia’s GRU, dies at 62

Click to play video: 'Head of Russian spy agency accused of Sergei Skripal poisoning dead  at 62' Head of Russian spy agency accused of Sergei Skripal poisoning dead at 62
WATCH ABOVE: Igor Korobov, the man who led the Russian spy agency believed to be behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal, died Wednesday from what Russia has called a "serious and long illness." – Nov 22, 2018

Igor Korobov, head of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, which has been accused of meddling in U.S. elections, has died in Moscow. He was 62.

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.

READ MORE: What is the Russian military agency GRU, accused of nefarious crimes around the world?

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu offered condolences to Korobov’s family but did not immediately name his successor.

The United States and its allies have accused the GRU of hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, orchestrating the March nerve agent attack on a Russian ex-spy in Britain, and disrupting anti-doping efforts in world sports. Russian authorities have rejected the accusations, calling them part of a Western smear campaign.

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This has been a tough year for the GRU, which has faced a series of exposures that revealed its inner workings.

READ MORE: Investigation says spy poisoning suspect is highly-decorated Russian colonel

In September, British intelligence released surveillance images of GRU agents accused of the nerve agent attack on former GRU officer and British double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury. The investigative group Bellingcat and the Russian site The Insider quickly exposed the agents’ real names, and media outlets including The Associated Press were able to confirm their real identities.

WATCH BELOW: Identity of second Russian accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal revealed

Click to play video: 'Identity of second Russian linked to Skripal poisoning ‘uncovered’' Identity of second Russian linked to Skripal poisoning ‘uncovered’
Identity of second Russian linked to Skripal poisoning ‘uncovered’ – Oct 9, 2018

Dutch authorities also have recently identified four alleged GRU agents who tried to hack the world’s chemical weapons watchdog from a hotel parking lot.

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READ MORE: Dutch accuse Russia of trying to hack chemical weapons watchdog

Putin visited the GRU headquarters earlier this month to congratulate the agency on its centenary, praising the agency for its professionalism.

WATCH: Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies

Click to play video: 'Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies' Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies
Russia cracks down on data protection after leaks outed spies – Nov 23, 2018

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