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Russia buries Soviet double agent George Blake with honours

FILE PHOTO: Soviet secret agent George Blake gestures as he speaks at a presentation of a book of letters written by other spies from a British prison, in Moscow June 28, 2001. Blake -- a notorious traitor in Britain and legendary hero in Russia -- escaped from a British jail in 1966 while serving a 42 year sentence for passing secrets to Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia buried former British spy and Soviet double agent George Blake with military honours on Wednesday, the RIA news agency reported, four days after he died at the age of 98.

Blake was buried at the Troyekurovskoye cemetery in western Moscow. President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, offered his condolences over the weekend, describing him an “outstanding professional”.

Britain says Blake exposed the identities of hundreds of Western agents across Eastern Europe in the 1950s, some of whom were executed as a result of his treason.

He was sentenced to 42 years in prison in Britain after being unmasked as a Soviet spy in 1961, but escaped jail and was whisked across Europe to the Soviet Union.

He spent the rest of his life there and in Russia.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth; editing by Nick Macfie

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