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Soviet spy hailed by Russia for 'saving Krakow' dies

Soviet spy hailed by Russia for saving Krakow dies

Moscow: Russia on Thursday announced the death at 103 of veteran Soviet spy Alexei Botyan, whom it hailed as a hero for "saving" the Polish city of Krakow from the Nazis, although Poland disputes Moscow's version of events.

Russia's SVR military intelligence agency said Botyan, who lived in Moscow, had died after turning 103 on

Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences, saying he always admired Botyan's "daring, patriotism and courage," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. According to the SVR's account, in January 1945, "Lieutenant Alyosha" -- as he was affectionately called by locals -- helped blow up a munitions depot containing explosives the Nazis planned to use to destroy a dam and flood

Krakow.

The SVR said Botyan considered his role in helping save the picturesque city the crowning achievement of his

life.

Agencies

Agencies

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