Germany expelled a Russian diplomat last year, accusing him of spying on the country’s high-tech aerospace industry, local media reported on Friday.
The diplomat was an undeclared intelligence officer working at Russia’s consulate in Munich, and he tried to get information about European aerospace projects with the help of a Russian academic, according to newsmagazine Der Spiegel.
The academic, identified as Ilnur N., was officially charged for espionage on Thursday, according to a statement by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.
The prosecutors said the accused regularly met with a Russian spy from late 2019 onwards, and passed on information he obtained while working as a research associate at a Bavarian university.
The Russian foreign intelligence service SVR was particularly interested in the European project of Ariane space launch vehicle, according to the authorities.
Ilnur N. was arrested in June 2021 and he remains in custody. Der Spiegel reported that the young research associate told prosecutors he didn’t know the man he met was working for the Russian intelligence.
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