Russia military spy chief resigns

Moscow, April 25 (Inditop) Russia’s chief of military intelligence General Valentin Korabelnikov was relieved of his post after handing in his notice, an official said.

President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree Friday appointing Korabelnikov’s first deputy, Lt. Gen. Alexander Shlyakhturov, as the new military intelligence (GRU) chief and deputy chief of the General Staff, a defence ministry spokesman said.

“Valentin Korabelnikov had submitted a resignation request and it has been approved,” the official said.

A highly placed official in the defence ministry said Korabelnikov had been appointed advisor to the chief of the General Staff in a civilian capacity.

The compulsory retirement age for senior officers in the Russian Armed Forces is 60. However, Korabelnikov’s contract was earlier extended for three years. He turned 63 in January.

Media reports earlier claimed that Korabelnikov, who has led GRU since May 1997, had tendered his resignation over objections to a proposed reform of the body, but Russian military officials dismissed the rumors, saying the general would keep his post for another two years.

GRU is Russia’s largest intelligence agency. It gathers human intelligence through military attaches and foreign agents. According to some sources, GRU has six times as many agents in foreign countries as the SVR, which is the KGB’s foreign intelligence wing.