Russia’s FSB raids space research center over ‘spying for West’

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has reportedly raided a top space research facility over the suspected leaking of secrets about the country’s new hypersonic weapons to the West.

Citing anonymous sources in law enforcement agencies on Friday, the Russian Kommersant daily newspaper said, “This morning, the FSB raided offices of staff at the Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIImash),” which develops rockets and space technology for Roskosmos, Russia’s space agency.

The paper reported that the security forces carried out the search operations in the town of Korolyov outside Moscow after finding out that Western security services had information on “secret hypersonic developments by Russian industry.”

Sources told Kommersant that the investigation was over “high treason,” with some 10 people suspected of “cooperation with Western secret services.”

It remained unclear what data may have been leaked but Russian media said the suspects were being investigated over passing secrets on the development of classified hypersonic technology — involving missiles able to travel at more than five times the speed of sound — to western intelligence agencies.

“It’s been established that TsNIImash employees are responsible for the leak,” one of the sources familiar with the FSB case materials was cited as saying by Kommersant. “Many heads will roll, and the case will not end with mere dismissals.”

Meanwhile, the Roskosmos space agency confirmed that a probe was taking place and its chief, Dmitry Rogozin, had been informed, without providing further details.

“Dmitry Rogozin is informed on this case and gave an order to give the investigative group every assistance,” a spokesman for the space agency told Russia’s RIA Novosti.

The raids came just a day after the Russian Defense Ministry published several videos of new weapons systems – two of which were about the country’s publicly acknowledged hypersonic missile projects.

The general features of these weapons, known as Avangard and Burevestnik, had been lauded as “invincible” during a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March.

Press TV