Russian scientist to go on trial in Germany over space rocket spying

By: AFP
Published: 05:42 PM, 3 Feb, 2022
Russian scientist to go on trial in Germany over space rocket spying
Caption: Russian scientist to go on trial in Germany over space rocket spying.
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A Russian scientist accused of spying for Moscow on Europe's Ariane space rocket programme while working at a German university is to go on trial in Munich this month.

The accused, identified only as Ilnur N., was arrested in June 2021 -- the latest in a string of alleged Russian spies uncovered on German soil at a time when tensions between Russia and the West are at their worst since the Cold War.

The trial will open on February 17, with 12 hearings initially planned until April 8, the Munich court said on Thursday.

Prosecutors allege that Ilnur N. was contacted by Russian agents in autumn 2019 or earlier, when he was working at an unnamed Bavarian university.

He then allegedly passed information to Moscow about research projects on aerospace technology, particularly the European launcher Ariane.

The Ariane rockets are a series of European Space Agency transportation vehicles designed to ferry heavy loads including satellites into space.

According to prosecutors, Ilnur N. worked as a research assistant at the Bavarian university's natural sciences and technology department.

At the time of his arrest, Augsburg University in southern Germany said Ilnur N. was employed there.

The case comes against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It is one of several incidents of suspected Russian spying in Germany.

In October 2021, a German man was handed a two-year suspended sentence for passing floor plans of parliament buildings to Russian secret services while employed by a security company.

Last August, a former employee of the British embassy in Berlin was arrested on suspicion of passing on documents to Russian intelligence.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.