Russian court charges academic of state treason for passing secrets to NATO

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Moscow has detained an academic on suspicion of state treason for allegedly passing secrets to a NATO country, reported Interfax news agency on Tuesday.

Anatoly Gubanov, a professor who works at the Moscow institute for aerodynamics, was accused of handing over secrets in a case involving an arrested physicist Valery Golubkin, Interfax said, quoting a source. It did not name the NATO country; Gubanov was detained in December last year on state treason charges, Russian news agencies reported at the time.

Golubkin ’ s defense lawyer told Interfax that his client denied any guilt and would appeal the Moscow court's decision to take him into custody.

He is an academic; His job is to hand over pens and paper, not to secret, the lawyer Alexander Timoshenko was quoted as saying.

The court did not respond to a request for comment; a number of foreign scientists have been arrested in recent years and charged with treason for allegedly passing sensitive material to Russianers.

Critics of the Kremlin say the arrests often stem from unfounded paranoia. Russia's relations with many NATO members, and particularly the United States, are low post-Cold War.

The Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the country was carrying out military exercises and combat readiness checks in response to what he said were NATO's plans to send troops close to Russian territory.

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