Moscow, Feb. 10: An engineer at a Russian space facility primarily used for military rocket launches and ballistic missile research was sentenced to 13 years in prison today for passing on classified military information to the CIA, according to Russias domestic intelligence agency, the FSB.
A curt statement posted to the FSB website identified the engineer as Vladimir V. Nesterets, a lieutenant colonel who worked at the Plesetsk space centre, a military installation in the northwest of the country close to the port city of Archangelsk.
In a closed-door trial at a military court, Nesterets pleaded guilty to delivering classified information about tests relating to Russias newest strategic military rocket complexes to the CIA in the United States, the statement said, adding that he received financial compensation for his services.
The FSB, a traditionally secretive organisation that is Russias successor to the KGB, did not elaborate on the claims against Nesterets, nor did it reveal when the crime took place.
The trial was held at the third district military court in the Moscow suburbs. Russian television showed footage of Nesterets, handcuffed and smoking a cigarette, being walked to the courtroom by FSB agents whose faces had been blurred out.
Russian authorities rarely release details about cases involving government secrets. The last major spy trial to be publicised was that of the former Russian intelligence officer accused of outing an entire Russian spy ring operating in the US in 2010.
The officer, Aleksandr Poteyev, was convicted last summer of treason and sentenced to 25 years.