Connect to share and comment

Russian officer convicted of treason for selling missile secrets to CIA

A Russian military engineer, Vladimir Nesterets, has been convicted of treason for selling secret missile data to the American intelligence service.

Plesetsk russia missile secrets 10 02 2012Enlarge
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev surveys a RS-12M Topol ballistic missile at the Plesetsk launch base on October 12, 2008. (DMITRY ASTAKHOV/AFP/Getty Images)

A Russian military engineer has been convicted of treason for selling secret missile data to the CIA.

Lt. Col. Vladimir Nesterets, a senior testing engineer at the Plesetsk Space Center in north-west Russia, was sentenced to 13 years in jail and stripped of his rank, RIA Novosti reported.

More from GlobalPost: Britain used fake rock to spy on Russia for years

According to Russia's secret police service, the FSB, Nesterets pleaded guilty to selling information about the testing of new strategic missiles systems to US intelligence agents.

No further details about his trial have been made public due to potential national security risks, RIA Novosti said.

According to the BBC, Russia's missile program has suffered a number of embarrassing setbacks in recent years, including a series of test failures for its submarine-launched Bulava ballistic missile.

Nesteret's sentence comes shortly after President Dmitri Medvedev announced that the FSB had exposed 199 foreign spies and agents in Russia last year, including Russian nationals working for Western countries, Agence France Presse reported.

The numbers indicate that "foreign secret services are stepping up their activities in Russia," Medvedev said.

AFP noted that Russia often discloses the arrest or conviction of foreign agents at times of diplomatic tensions with the West.

More from GlobalPost: Russia holding Chinese man on spy charges

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120210/russian-officer-vladimir-nesterets-treason-selling-missile-secrets-cia