Russia detained three scientists involved in the development of hypersonic missiles: accuses them of treason

FILE PHOTO. A Russian armored personnel carrier and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems pass the Kremlin wall after a military parade on Victory Day, marking the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. World War, in Moscow, Russia. May 9, 2023. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (MAXIM SHEMETOV/)

Three Russian academics who have worked on hypersonic missile technology face “very serious accusations“, He said Kremlin on Wednesday, in a treason investigation that has sown the alarm in the Russian scientific community. The spokesman for Kremlin, Dmitry PeskovHe said he was aware of an open letter from Siberian scientists defending the men, but that the case fell under the purview of the security services.

In the letter, released Monday, colleagues from Anatoly Maslov, Alexander Shiplyuk and Valery Zvegintsev they protested the accusations and claimed that the prosecutions threatened to inflict serious damage on Russian science. ”We know each of them as patriots and decent people who are not capable of doing what the investigating authorities suspect.”, they stated.

The Russian President, Vladimir Putinhas boasted that Russia is the world leader in hypersonic missiles, capable of traveling at speeds of up to Mach 10 (12,250 km/h) to evade enemy air defenses. On Tuesday, Ukraine He said that he had managed to destroy six of these weapons in a single night, although Russia doubted it.

Russian hypersonic missiles (AFP)
Russian hypersonic missiles (AFP)

Notices of academic conferences dating back many years show that detained scientists frequently participated in them.

In 2012, Maslov and shiplyuk presented the results of a experiment on hypersonic missile design at a seminar held in Tours, France. In 2016, the three were among the authors of a book chapter titled “Short-duration hypersonic installations for aerodynamics research at ITAM, Russia”.

The open letter from his colleagues at the ITAM -he Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Novosibirsk— said that materials scientists had presented in international forums had been repeatedly reviewed to ensure they did not include restricted information.

The cases showed thatany article or report may lead to charges of high treason”, the open letter said. “In this situation, we fear not only for the fate of our colleagues. We just don’t understand how to keep doing our job”.

The letter also cited the case of dmitri kolkeranother Siberian scientist who was arrested last year on suspicion of state treason and flown to Moscowdespite suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer. Kolker, a laser specialist, died two days later..

According to the organization, these cases are having a chilling effect on young Russian scientists.

Even now, the best students refuse to come to work with us and our best young employees are leaving science.. A number of research areas that are critical to laying the foundation for future aerospace technology are simply closing down because employees are afraid to engage in such research.”

Asked about the letter, the spokesman for the Kremlin, peskovsaid: “Indeed, we have seen this appeal, but the Russian special services are working on it. They are doing their job. These are very serious accusations.”.

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