Russia arrests top hypersonic research scientist suspected of treason
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 12 August 2021 6:15 PM
Russia has arrested the head of a research institute specializing in hypersonic technology on suspicion of state treason, Russian media report.
Russia's TASS news agency cited a law enforcement source as saying on Thursday that Alexander Kuranov, general director of the St Petersburg-based Hypersonic Systems Research Facility, had been taken into custody on charges of treason.
The agency's report said Kuranov was detained in Moscow and that the Federal Security Service (FSB) asked the court to place him in pre-trial detention for two months.
The 73-year-old was suspected of passing "secret information" to a "foreign citizen" about hypersonic technology research that he had worked on for a long time.
"According to the preliminary information, Kuranov, who has been working on hypersonic technologies for years, has shared classified information about scientific research with a foreign citizen," Russia's Interfax reported, citing a source with knowledge of the investigation.
According to the research facility's website, Kuranov oversaw work on the concept for a new hypersonic aircraft dubbed Ajax that dates back to the Soviet era.
The latest arrest comes as Russia has been developing a number of hypersonic weapons in recent years, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has touted as unparalleled and "invincible."
In April, Russia arrested a physics professor, Valery Golubkin, on suspicion of treason, who was mainly employed by the Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). Another employee of TsAGI, Anatoly Gubanov, was arrested in December on suspicion of sharing classified information with the West.
Treason cases in Russia carry charges of 12 to 20 years behind bars and seldom come to light because of their classified nature.
Russia has stepped up its treason convictions since ties with the West deteriorated following the reunification of Crimea in 2014.
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