Russian Hypersonic Missile Scientists Arrested Amid Treason Investigation, Scientists Rally in Their Defense

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In a significant development, three Russian scientists specializing in hypersonic missile technology have been arrested and are currently facing severe accusations as part of a treason investigation, according to a statement by the Kremlin reported by Reuters. The scientists under scrutiny are Anatoly Maslov, Alexander Shiplyuk, and Valery Zvegintsev. Reacting to the allegations, a group of scientists from Siberia issued an open letter on Monday in support of the detained researchers, emphasizing that prosecuting them would deal a devastating blow to Russia’s scientific community. The open letter, signed by their colleagues at the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Novosibirsk, expressed unwavering support for the accused scientists, describing them as patriots and honorable individuals who could not possibly be involved in the actions the investigating authorities suspect them of. The letter also highlighted the precarious position of Russian academics, stating that any presentation of research materials at international conferences could potentially lead to accusations of high treason.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the open letter but emphasized that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of the security services, adding, “These are very serious accusations.” The arrests follow recent tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with Ukraine refuting claims that Russia had destroyed a US-made Patriot missile defense system using its own hypersonic missile. Moscow has also denied Ukraine’s assertion that it destroyed six Russian hypersonic weapons. The detained scientists had actively participated in numerous international conferences over the years, with two of them, Anatoly Maslov and Alexander Shiplyuk, attending a seminar in Tours, France, where they presented research findings on hypersonic missile design. The open letter from their colleagues highlighted that the materials presented at international forums had undergone rigorous scrutiny to ensure compliance with restricted information regulations.

The open letter also drew attention to the case of Dmitry Kolker, another scientist from Siberia who was arrested on treason charges the previous year, despite battling advanced pancreatic cancer. Tragically, Kolker passed away two days after his detainment. As the treason investigation unfolds, the fate of the arrested scientists remains uncertain, while their colleagues and the broader scientific community in Russia express concerns about the potential consequences for their own work. The situation has raised questions about how they can continue their research amidst the climate of suspicion and potential legal implications surrounding international collaboration in scientific fields.

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