Berlin | On Monday, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced that a Russian scientist working at a German university had been arrested on suspicion of spying for Moscow.
The man, provided by German justice only as Ilnur N., “is strongly suspected since at least early October 2020 that he was employed by a Russian intelligence service,” while working as a scientific assistant at a German university, according to the Karlsruhe Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is responsible for Spy issues.
And between last October and last June, he met “at least three times” with a Russian foreign intelligence agent, according to the same source.
During at least two of these meetings he “provided information” about the university and “received cash for cash”.
No further details were provided about this man or the German university in which he works, and the prosecution only indicated that he was a scientific assistant to a “scientific-technical chair”.
Neither Russia nor Germany immediately responded, but relations between the two powers are strained, particularly over the Ukraine case or accusations of cyber espionage against Moscow.
But it is above all the attempt to poison the opponent Alexei Navalny last August, for which the West blames Moscow, and which contributed most to the deterioration of German-Russian relations.
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin have a very difficult relationship.
Russian intelligence services have experienced a strong revival in Europe in recent years, according to experts.
In early spring, Italy announced the expulsion of two Russian officials after the arrest of an Italian Navy officer in flagrante delicto who handed over classified documents to a Russian soldier.
Several Russian diplomats accused of spying have been expelled in recent months from Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Austria, France and the Czech Republic. Each time, Moscow reacted identically while denouncing the baseless accusations and “rosophobia.”