05:56 GMT21 October 2020
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    PRAGUE (Sputnik) - Czech Interior Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek on Wednesday declined to comment on the case of Ivan Safronov, an adviser to the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, who is accused, according to his lawyer, of passing classified information to the Czech security services.

    "No comment," Hamacek told reporters, as quoted by Czech news portal Denik N.

    Czech Defence Ministry also said on Wednesday that it would not comment at the moment on the case of Ivan Safronov. 

    "The Ministry of Defence at the moment will not in any way comment on the case [of Safronov]," Jana Zechmeisterova, a spokesperson for the ministry’s press service, said.

    Safronov was detained on Tuesday on the suspicion that he had been passing state defence secrets to a NATO country. A Moscow court has ordered two months in custody for the ex-defence journalist and former employee of the Kommersant publishing house. Safronov has denied the high treason charges against them.

    Ivan Pavlov, Safronov’s lawyer, said on Tuesday that Russian investigators believe that Safronov had passed information to the Czech security services, which then transferred it to the United States.

    Roscosmos has said that Safronov's detention was not related to his work for the space agency, adding that he had no access to classified data. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in turn, said that the detention did not appear to be connected to Safronov's work as a journalist. The Kommersant newspaper called charges against its former employee absurd, saying he was a true patriot.

    Tags:
    Roscosmos, espionage, Czech Republic, Russia
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