MOSCOW, July 8. /TASS/. The work of the Kremlin pool of journalists is organized in a way to prevent violations of the law on state secrets, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the case of national space agency advisor Ivan Safronov, who used to be part of the pool and has recently been detained on suspicion of high treason.
"As for the presidential pool, the work is organized in a way to prevent violations of the law on state secrets," he noted.
When asked if the case raised questions as to the agencies that checked reporters before including them in the Kremlin pool, Peskov said that "the relevant agencies do their job properly."
The spokesman admitted that if a journalist of the Kremlin pool is recruited by foreign intelligence, he may have an opportunity to collect data. "If he [a journalist] is recruited by NATO special services, of course this cannot be ruled out," Peskov said answering a question if a journalist of the Kremlin pool could obtain sensitive information, talk to high-ranking officials, make certain conclusions and hand them over to special services.
"Actually, we contacted with [Ivan] Safronov as a very talented journalist and we highly appreciate his journalistic talent," Peskov said.
However, the Kremlin spokesman noted: "You and I don’t know those accusations voiced against him," adding that the court had familiarized itself with these accusations and would consider them.
He pointed out that a court ruling in Safronov’s case was yet to be made.
Contacts with Czech Republic
No high- or top-level contacts between Russia and the Czech Republic are planned so far, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
"So far, there are no high- or top-level bilateral contacts planned," he said.
When asked about the state of relations between Russia and the Czech Republic following the recent developments, namely the arrest of Ivan Safronov, advisor to the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, for allegedly handing over sensitive information to the Czech special services, Peskov pointed to another incident — the demolition of the monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague.
"Recently, our relations with the Czech Republic have been marred by certain events and certain unfriendly steps taken by the municipal and central government [of the Czech Republic]," Peskov noted.
"This has had a negative effect on the general state of our bilateral relations, however, Russia calls for good relations with all countries, including the Czech Republic," the Kremlin spokesman said.
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) detained Safronov on July 7 on suspicion of passing information constituting a state secret to a NATO country’s intelligence agency. A criminal case was opened under Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code (high treason). The FSB believes that Safronov provided Czech intelligence with information about Russian arms supplies to the Middle East and Africa. Moscow’s Lefortovsky District Court ruled to place him into custody for two months. Safronov, who used to be a reporter for the Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers, was appointed as advisor to the CEO of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation on May 18, 2020.