George Blake, British intelligence agent who spied for USSR during Cold War, dies in Moscow
- George Blake, although a British spy, started working for USSR in the 1950s
- He switched sides after witnessing US bombings against civilian population during the Korean War
- Five years to his 42 years jail term in Britain, he broke out of jail and escaped to the USSR
George Blake, the British intelligence agent who spied for the Soviet Union, died on Saturday, aged 97, AFP reported quoting the Russian media. "The legendary intelligence officer George Blake has passed away today," the spokesman for Russia's SVR foreign intelligence service Sergei Ivanov told Russia's TASS news agency. "He sincerely loved our country and admired our people's achievements during World War II," he added.
A former member of the Dutch resistance during World War II, Blake joined the British foreign intelligence service MI6, before changing sides. He rendered his services to the Soviets in the 1950s after witnessing US bombings against the civilian population during the Korean War, AFP reported.
He provided the names of hundreds of MI6 agents to the KGB and revealed the existence of a secret tunnel in East Berlin that was used to spy on the Soviets.
It was only in 1961 that it was discovered that Blake was a double agent. He was sentenced to a record 42 years of imprisonment in England.
He escaped from the cell five years later, using a rope ladder with the help of three cell mates.
He smuggled across the Iron Curtain, a political boundary that divided Europe into two areas during the Cold War. After arriving in East Germany, Blake travelled to the Soviet Union where he received a hero's welcome. He was awarded the rank of colonel by the Russian intelligence service.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the country to which he dedicated his life, he said he never regretted his actions and lived in Russia until his death.
Blake was among the last living British double agents that the USSR recruited during the Cold War.