Will Englund, a Moscow correspondent for The Sun, was questioned for four hours yesterday by an investigator of the Russian Security Ministry about an article he wrote last year describing chemical weapons development in the former Soviet
He was interrogated by Capt. Viktor A. Shkarin, a former officer of the KGB, which became the Security Ministry after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party.
The interrogation took place at Lefortovo Prison in Moscow. Captain Shkarin is heading the investigation of a Russian chemical scientist, Vil Mirzayanov, who was an identified source in Mr. Englund's article. Dr. Mirzayanov has been charged with revealing state secrets.
Dr. Mirzayanov had told The Sun that Russian scientists had secretly developed a nerve gas 10 times more deadly than VX, a similar U.S. chemical agent, at a time when the Soviet government was publicly supporting treaties that would eliminate chemical weapons.
Mr. Englund was accompanied to yesterday's interrogation by Nancy Richman, his lawyer, David Whiddon, a U.S. consular official, and Andrei Mironov, a Russian interpreter employed by The Sun.
Captain Shkarin allowed only the interpreter in the interrogation room, although Mr. Englund was permitted to consult with Ms. Richman outside the room.
Mr. Englund said all the questions regarded his article last Sept. 16 that was based on an interview with Dr. Mirzayanov and another scientist, Dr. Lev Fyodorov.
He said he refused to give any information beyond what had been in the article except to say that Dr. Mirzayanov had not asked to be paid.
"I made a general statement protesting the summons and saying I had nothing to add to the Sept. 16 story," Mr. Englund said.
He was released after the four-hour interview. There was no indication he would be summoned again.
"Shkarin was by turns bullying, polite, joking, bored, angry," Mr. Englund said. "At one point he accused me of intending to lie to him."
After the interview, Mr. Englund was asked to sign a "protocol" describing the questions and answers. It was in Russian and Mr. Englund refused to sign.
But ultimately, Mr. Mironov, the interpreter, signed the document.