Moscow/Beijing: – The Russian security agencies have accused that China acquired some classified information from a Russian scientist through surveillance. Russian scientist Valery Mitko, head of Russia’s Arctic Academy of Sciences, has been arrested in this connection and has been charged with espionage. This is the second instance of a Russian scientist being arrested under charges of spying for China in the last four years. Russia is known as the closest ally of China. Despite this, the Chinese spying and the Russian action against it only shows the tensions reigning in the relationship.
Last year, the Russia-China alliance was taking shape on the international level. Both the countries made decisions strengthening the mutual partnership in the economy, trade and military sectors. Both Russia and China had supported issues pertaining to the other while coming together on many of the global problems. But at the same time, the Chinese theft of Russian technology and instances of espionage has consistently highlighted the tension between the two countries.
The arrest of Russian scientist Valery Mitko is the endorsement of these tension-filled ties. The Russian Federal Security Service has accused Valery Mitko of supplying classified information regarding the technology, necessary for submarine searches. The Russian agency has accused in the charge sheet that Mitko transferred this technology to the Chinese during his visit to China in 2018. The Russian agency clarified that 78 years old Valery Mitko, who is the head of Russia’s Arctic Academy of Sciences, transferred this classified information to the Chinese Special Services in exchange for money.
This is the second instance of a Russian scientist spying for China. In 2016, Russian space scientist Vladimir Lapygin had been arrested for supplying classified information regarding the technology used in hypersonic jets to China. Russia has also accused China of replicating the advanced fighter jets and technology and design of the defence equipment supplied by Russia to China.
Meanwhile, a court in Russia has handed out a sentence of 16 years of imprisonment to Paul Whelan, a US citizen arrested under charges of espionage on Monday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has criticised the decision and reacted that this sentence is intensely concerning development. Russia sources had indicated that Whelan could be exchanged for some Russian citizens booked for crimes in the United States.