Legendary Soviet Double Agent George Blake Dies Aged 98, Russian Intelligence Service Confirms

© AP PhotoGeorge Blake, a former British spy and double agent in service of the Soviet Union, seen in Moscow in this Nov. 15, 2006 file photo
George Blake, a former British spy and double agent in service of the Soviet Union, seen in Moscow in this Nov. 15, 2006 file photo - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW, (Sputnik) - Legendary British spy and Soviet double agent working in MI-6, George Blake, has died aged 98, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Spokesman Sergey Ivanov told Sputnik.

“We have received bitter news, the legendary George Blake is gone,” Ivanov said.

George Blake began his career in the UK’s MI6 in 1944, but decided to work for the Soviet Union after the brutal US bombing of North Korean towns and villages that he witnessed during the Korean War, as he later recalled. Blake volunteered to work for Soviet intelligence while in captivity in Pyongyang after he was captured by the North Korean People's Army in Seoul in 1950, where he was posted to the British Legation two years before.

After the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953, Blake returned to the UK and continued his work, but now as a double agent.

Blake provided the USSR with intelligence reviews from the British Defence Ministry and information on the degree of awareness of the UK and US about Soviet military secrets. In 1955, thanks to info received from Blake, the KGB conducted a successful operation leading to the discovery of a secret tunnel that had been dug by the British and American intelligence services from West to East Berlin and which was being used to tap Soviet military telephone lines.

© AP Photo / Boris YurchenkoGeorge Blake, a British defector who spied for the Soviets in Britain, gestures during a news conference in Moscow, Jan. 15, 1992
Legendary Soviet Double Agent George Blake Dies Aged 98, Russian Intelligence Service Confirms - Sputnik International
George Blake, a British defector who spied for the Soviets in Britain, gestures during a news conference in Moscow, Jan. 15, 1992

He was uncovered by a Polish defector in 1961 and sentenced by a British court to 42 years in prison. In 1966, however, he was able to escape from the Wormwood Scrubs Prison in London and fled to Berlin via France. In Berlin, he travelled from the West to the East in a wooden box attached to the undercarriage of a car. He ultimately wound up in Russia, where he lived ever since.

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