Ukrainian Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Russia For Smuggling S-300 Parts

Ukrainian national Alexander Marchenko sentenced to 10 years in jail for an attempt to smuggle spare parts for an S-300 air defense missile system from Russia. Video screengrab/Russian Federal Security Service/TASS

A Ukrainian man who tried to buy parts of the S-300 air defense system (ADS) called Klystrons for $163,000 has been sentenced to 10 years in prison reported Tass news agency.

The man, Alexander Marchenko is accused of carrying out espionage activities. He was trying to smuggle the parts via a shell company in Macedonia to hand them over to Ukrainian intelligence. The man was arrested in April 2019, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement.

“We have obtained comprehensive evidence proving [Marchenko’s] links to the Ukrainian intelligence services, which operated with the aim to harm Russia’s national security,” the FSB statement said.

Klystron can amplify radio frequencies from ultra-high frequency to the microwave range and are used, among other things, in ADS radars that detect enemy aircraft and missiles.

The man allegedly paid Ukrainian intelligence service’s money to buy the classified parts. It will now be seized by the Russian authorities.

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It is unclear if the parts that Marchenko tried to obtain were used in a newer generation of S-300s, such as the S-300V used by Russia, or in older models, such as the ones still operated by Ukraine.

“By the ruling of the Third Appeals Court of General Jurisdiction, the verdict against Ukrainian citizen A.V. Marchenko passed by the Krasnodar Regional Court for committing a crime stipulated by Article 276 of Russia’s Criminal Code (‘Espionage’) has been upheld and has entered into legal force. By the court’s judgment, he has been sentenced to 10 years in a strict security prison,” the FSB said in a statement.

In May 2018, Marchenko was assigned a task by Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence Service staffer Pyotr Khomenko to acquire klystrons in Russia – spare parts for S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems and received $163,000 for implementing the criminal intent, the statement says.

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“The secret items were expected to be transferred to the Ukrainian Ukroboronservis state arms exporter through an intermediary firm in Macedonia,” the FSB press office said.

The court ruled to turn the funds allocated by the Ukrainian Foreign Intelligence Service for the intelligence operation into Russia’s property.

Marchenko was apprehended in April 2019. During the probe, investigators received convincing evidence of his complicity in the Ukrainian intelligence services’ activity aimed at inflicting damage on Russia’s security, which served as the basis for the court’s judgment.

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