A Russian scientist working at a German university has been arrested for espionage. The deal threatens to further deteriorate relations between Germany and Russia.
According to the prosecution, the man is suspected of serving in the Russian security service from October 2020 until this month.
A spokesman for the University of Augsburg in southern Germany confirmed that the suspect worked there and that police investigated his workplace after his arrest on Friday.
The Russian was working as an assistant researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology.
On at least three occasions, he met a Russian intelligence agent, according to police investigators, and twice provided information from the university. For those services, he must have received a cash payment.
On Sunday, the suspect appeared before the corresponding arresting judge, who decided he should be detained.
An account on the job platform Linkedin in his name shows that he worked as a research engineer at Russia’s Bagkov Institute of Metals in 2013. He moved to Germany in 2016 for an internship at the Fraunhofer Institute for Lightweight Construction.
Neither the German nor the Russian government has commented on the espionage issue.
Russia is embroiled in a conflict with several Western countries after troop marches on the border with Ukraine and a series of spy scandals that led to the expulsion of diplomats.
This latest espionage case occurs when German-Russian relations have been strained on several fronts, not least the imprisonment of Russian regime critic Alexei Navalny, who was treated in Germany after being poisoned in Russia.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has also worked to maintain sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea, while at the same time repeatedly accusing Russia of launching cyber attacks in Germany.
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