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Aide to Russian space chief held on treason charges

Roscomos said a probe was under way and that it was "fully cooperating with the investigative authorities".

Russian flag: Picture: Google

MOSCOW - A former journalist and aide to the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos was detained on Tuesday on treason charges, the agency said.

Roscomos said a probe was under way and that it was "fully cooperating with the investigative authorities".

The agency said in a statement that the detention of Ivan Safronov in Moscow was not related to his employment at Roscosmos where he began working as an information policy aide in May.

A source told news agency Interfax that Safronov's detention could be linked to his earlier work in journalism and that he did not have clearance to access state secrets as a Roscomos employee.

Safronov was previously a high-profile journalist working for the independent Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers where he reported on politics, the military, and Russia's space programmes.

In 2019, Kommersant removed from its website an article co-authored by Safronov about the delivery of Russian jets to Egypt after court proceedings into the disclosure of state secrets.

He was forced to resign from Kommersant in May last year after a report alleging the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament was planning to step down.

The entire politics desk of the newspaper resigned in protest against the dismissal of Safronov and another colleague whose name appeared on the story.

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