PRAGUE, July 8. /TASS/. The case of Ivan Safronov, advisor to the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, who was arrested in Russia for alleged handover of sensitive information to the Czech special services, may undermine Russian-Czech relations, Czech MP Pavel Blazek said on Wednesday.
Blazek is chairman of the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of Czech parliament) commission that oversees the activity of the Office for Foreign Relations and Information (the Czech intelligence). On Tuesday, Safronov’s attorney Yevgeny Smirnov said that the Roscosmos advisor had been accused of working for this intelligence service.
"I expect that the Russian-Czech relations will deteriorate," Blazek said, declining to provide any further commentary.
Earlier on Wednesday, when asked about the state of Russian-Czech relations due to recent events, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned 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.
Ivan Safronov, an advisor to the Roscosmos chief, was detained by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on July 7 on suspicion of treason. The FSB says that Safronov was recruited in 2012 and in 2017 he provided the Czech intelligence agencies with information about Russian arms supplies to the Middle East and Africa. The information was later passed on to the US counterparts, according to the case materials.
Ivan Safronov was born in 1990. He worked for the Kommersant business daily in 2010-2019. In 2019-2020, he became a special correspondent on military, defense and space topics with the Vedomosti business daily. In May 2020, he was appointed as an information policy advisor to the CEO of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation.