Sep 02

Russian media question official version of death of Yuri Ivanov, that he died going for a swim

Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military’s overseas intelligence arm of Russian military, was found dead in mysterious circumstances

A mysterious accident in which one of Russia’s most powerful spies was found dead on a Turkish beach has provoked speculation that the deputy head of the country’s foreign military intelligence service had been murdered.

The badly decomposed body of Yuri Ivanov washed up last month on the shore of the Mediterranean, and was discovered by Turkish villagers in the province of Hatay, Turkish newspapers reported today. Reports suggest that he was quietly buried in Moscow over the weekend.

Ivanov was the second in command at Russia’s foreign military intelligence unit, the GRU. The general had last been deployed to review military installations in Syria, amid Kremlin attempts to reassert its influence in the Middle East, reports suggested.

Major General Ivanov’s body was found on 16 August but was only identified last week. Russia’s Red Star newspaper confirmed his death on Saturday in a brief obituary. Russia’s defence ministry declined to comment further.

Today, however, the Russian media questioned the official version of his death – that he had died while going for a swim – and pointed out that, as a top-ranking spy, he would have been accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.

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