The director of a top Russian research institute arrested for treason along with two other experts in hypersonic missile technology is accused of passing secrets to China, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
According to them, Alexander Shiplyuk, director of the Siberian Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM), is suspected of having handed over classified materials during a scientific conference in China in 2017.
According to their reports, Shiplyuk, 56, claims he is innocent. He points out that the information in question was unclassified and freely available on the Internet.
The nature of the charges against the ITAM director, who was arrested in August last year, had not previously been disclosed.
Shiplyuk is the latest in a string of Russian scientists arrested in recent years for passing secrets to Beijing.
Amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine, Russia’s parliament voted last month to increase the maximum sentence for high treason from 20 years to life in prison. On Tuesday, the head of the security committee of Russia’s lower house of parliament said that between 2017 and 2022, 48 Russians had been convicted of treason.
Last year, laser technology specialist Dmitry Kolker was arrested in Siberia for treason, but died of cancer two days later. Last week, his lawyer Alexander Fedulov told Reuters that Kolker had been accused of passing secrets to China. The scientist’s family denies these accusations.
Alexander Lukanin, a scientist from Tomsk, was arrested in 2020 on suspicion of passing secrets to Beijing, Russian news agency TASS reported at the time. Last year he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.
Valery Mitko, a scientist who headed the Academy of Arctic Sciences in St. Petersburg, was also accused in 2020 of passing secrets to China, where he regularly traveled to give lectures, TASS reported. ‘era. Mitko died two years later at the age of 81 while under house arrest.
The cases of Shiplyuk and his two ITAM colleagues, Anatoly Maslov and Valery Zvegintsev, are top secret and will be considered behind closed doors. Hearings in the Maslov case, the first of three arrested in June last year, were due to take place in St Petersburg on Wednesday.
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