MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti)
A Russian military district court sentenced on Friday an engineer at the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia to 13 years in prison on charges of state treason, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said.
Lt. Col. Vladimir Nesterets, a senior testing engineer at the center, has been convicted of selling secret data on tests of new Russian ballistic missiles.
“Nesterets has pleaded guilty on charges of selling information about testing of new Russian strategic missile systems to CIA officers in exchange for money,” the FSB said in a statement.
“He was sentenced to 13 years in a high security prison and stripped of his rank,” the statement said.
The details of the trial, which was held behind closed doors, are not available to the public because of national security reasons.
President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that Russian counterintelligence exposed 199 foreign spies in 2011, including 41 professional intelligence officers and 158 agents in the pay of foreign spymasters.
Medvedev did not elaborate on the spies’ home countries, but said some of the agents were Russian nationals.
The Plesetsk Space Center is the only space launch facility on Russian territory. It is mainly used for launches of military satellites and tests of ballistic missiles.
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The clash of Russian and Western interests has given rise to a geopolitical battle. German politicians are trying to leave all doors and windows open for dialogue with Russia. Moscow does acknowledge this, and Germany is probably the only country with which it is ready to discuss European security.