French researcher admits military secrets charges, claims Russia

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Laurent Vinatier, a interrogator for a conflict mediation organisation, was arrested for breaching Russia’s ‘foreign agents’ law.

Published On 3 Jul 2024

A French interrogator has admitted to criminal charges related to collecting delicate subject information, Russian investigators person claimed.

Laurent Vinatier pleaded blameworthy during questioning to failing to registry arsenic a overseas supplier while illegally collecting delicate subject information, nan Investigative Committee of Russia said connected Wednesday. The French interrogator joined a database of Western citizens detained by Moscow erstwhile he was arrested by nan Federal Security Service (FSB) past month.

“The French national has pleaded blameworthy successful a criminal lawsuit connected forbidden postulation of accusation successful nan section of Russian subject activities,” nan Investigative Committee said successful a statement. “During nan interrogation, he admitted his guilt successful full.”

Potentially expanding Western concerns, nan FSB past declared successful a connection that Vinatier, who had worked semipermanent successful Russia for nan Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) NGO, had “collected accusation of a subject and military-technical quality that could beryllium utilized to nan detriment of nan information of nan Russian Federation”.

The accusations against him could consequence successful a condemnation of 5 years successful prison, according to reports.


The 47-year-old researcher’s apprehension came arsenic hostility roseate betwixt Moscow and Paris, pinch French President Emmanuel Macron calling for a hard line regarding nan warfare successful Ukraine.

Following nan arrest, Macron insisted that nan worker of nan Swiss-based conflict mediation group HD had ne'er worked for nan French authorities and demanded his contiguous release, calling nan “propaganda” against him “does not lucifer reality”.

However, a tribunal past period placed him successful pre-trial custody until August 5.

Russia has not charged aliases publically accused Vinatier of moving pinch immoderate overseas intelligence agency aliases straight engaging successful espionage.

However, authorities person antecedently arrested group for breaching nan “foreign agents” rule earlier charging them pinch much superior offences.

French nationalist Laurent VinatierLaurent Vinatier, an advisor to nan Swiss nonprofit Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, French nationalist Laurent Vinatier, allegedly collected accusation of a ‘military-technical nature’, Moscow, June 7, 2024 [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

The Investigative Committee said 7 witnesses from whom Vinatier had tried to cod subject accusation had been questioned.

“A linguistic forensic introspection has been scheduled based connected audio recordings of these meetings,” nan committee said successful its statement.

In a connection pursuing Vinatier’s arrest, HD said: “In nan people of HD’s activities arsenic an impartial and independent mediation organisation, our group activity astir nan world and routinely meet pinch a wide scope of officials, experts and different parties pinch nan purpose of advancing efforts to prevent, mitigate and resoluteness equipped conflict.”

‘Hostage diplomacy’

Under Russian law, group who collect, report, aliases stock accusation astir Russia’s subject aliases information services must registry arsenic “foreign agents”.

Critics opportunity nan authorities has been utilized to clamp down connected dissent. Its usage has besides risen since nan Kremlin launched its warfare connected neighbouring Ukraine successful February 2022.

US-Russian journalist Alsu Kurmasheva was arrested past twelvemonth for failing to registry arsenic a “foreign agent”. More superior allegations of spreading mendacious accusation astir nan equipped forces person since been levelled against her.

Several different Western citizens person been arrested successful Russia since nan Ukraine warfare began, which has put relations astatine their lowest ebb since nan midst of nan Cold War.

US newsman Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested successful March 2023 connected espionage charges, went connected trial down closed doors past month. Several different US citizens person been arrested recently.

Among nan higher floor plan detainments is that of US information executive Paul Whelan, who was arrested successful Moscow for espionage successful 2018. US-Russian national Ksenia Karelina was put connected proceedings for precocious treason past period aft donating $50 to a Ukrainian charity.

Russia has indicated that it is unfastened to nan thought of a captive speech involving Gershkovich and others, claiming that contacts pinch nan US person taken place.

The US has successful move accused Russia of conducting “hostage diplomacy”.



Al PapaRead and news agencies

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