Vladimir Putin was hit today by the sudden death of one of his top spymasters.

GRU military intelligence chief Col-Gen Igor Sergun, who played a key role in the annexation of Crimea and action by the Russian armed forces in eastern Ukraine, along with Moscow’s air strikes in Syria, died aged 58.

No cause was given in a brief announcement which stated that Putin had offered his condolences in a heartfelt telegram to his widow and two daughters.

The Kremlin’s top military spy, Sergun was targeted with US and EU sanctions over Ukraine.

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