Russia Detains Head of Hypersonics Research Facility in Treason Case

MOSCOW (Reuters) -
A Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile is fired from the guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea in 2019. (Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)

Russia has detained the head of a research facility that specializes in hypersonic technology in Moscow on suspicion of state treason, the TASS news agency cited a source as saying on Thursday.

Russia’s Federal Security Service will ask a court to hold him in custody for two months, the report said. It named him as Alexander Kuranov, whose profile on the Hypersonic Systems Research Facility’s site says he is a specialist in hypersonic technology.

Russia, whose ties with the West have spiraled to post-Cold War lows since 2014, has been developing a number of hypersonic weapons in recent years that President Vladimir Putin has touted as unparalleled.

A lawyer for Kuranov could not immediately be reached for comment.

A number of Russian scientists, soldiers and officials have been charged with treason in recent years after being accused of passing sensitive material to foreign countries.

Critics of the Kremlin say the charges are often unfounded and cannot be scrutinized because they are classified.