A SENIOR Russian university professor has been locked up for treason after he allegedly shared classified information to a NATO country, and is being held in jail for his "spying" despite his ailing health.
Professor Valery Golubkin, 69, who lectures at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, was arrested on April 13 by Russian authorities.
They have accused the educator of passing on classified information related to the development of "high-speed experimental fly vehicles" to an unspecified NATO country.
However, his university have rebutted the allegations and claimed the scientist, who teaches fourth-year students 'high-speed aerodynamics' on a part-time basis, did not have access to state secrets.
Any leak regarding Russia's aviation technology would not be taken lightly – especially amid ever-increasing tensions with the West, as the Ukraine border crisis grows increasingly volatile.
Russia have remained tight-lipped about their hypersonic missile technology, as they race to beat the US, China, and North Korea.
Each nation has heavily invested in different types of the destructive projectile technology, which are capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.
They can fly at speeds over Mach 5 – around 4,000mph and are regarded as a "game-changer" because they would inflict "devastating" damage on foes.
President Vladimir Putin declared last year the "race has already begun" ahead of the expiration of the New Start treaty, the major nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the US.
Golubkin, who underwent cancer treatment in 2015, suffers from hypertension and is regarded to be in poor health generally.
Despite his condition, he is being held in preventive detention until 12th June.
If the respected lecturer is found guilty, he could face up to 12 to 20 years in prison.
Golubkin's case comes amid a sharp crackdown on Russian traitors in recent years, that has seen academics, military personnel, former intelligence officers and journalists, banged up.
Golubkin is a colleague of the physicist Anatoly Gubanov, who has found himself in a similar situation as authorities accused him of also being a spy.
They claim the academic handed over secret aviation development data abroad.
Local media reported that he "partially admitted" his guilt during intense questioning regarding the reported betrayal in December last year.
Both cases are being tried behind closed doors as the secretive state battle to keep their plans under wraps.
Despite the two men both being involved in aircraft design, co-authoring a scientific paper on supersonic speeds together, and the similar charges brought against them – their cases are reportedly unlinked.
The investigation into Golubkin, who maintains his innocence, remains ongoing.
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