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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Air Force Took Hiroshima Spy Photos

A former Soviet Air Force photographer said he developed Soviet intelligence pictures of Hiroshima taken shortly after the 1945 destruction of the Japanese city by a U.S. atom bomb, Itar-Tass reported Thursday.

In what is believed to be the first revelation of such a mission, Georgy Kislitsin, 87, told the agency that the photographs were taken by a Soviet intelligence plane flying 5,000 meters above the city shortly after the Aug. 6, 1945, attack. Russia declared war on Japan on Aug. 8, 1945.

The American attack on Hiroshima, the first use of atomic weapons in warfare, was the culmination of many years of top-secret development of the bomb in the United States. The U.S. nuclear weapons program was the target of intense Soviet spying that helped to lead to Moscow's development of its first nuclear weapon in 1949.

Kislitsin said he was ordered to develop the film but said he was allowed to see only some of the prints before being made to leave the laboratory. He said he and other laboratory workers received a medal for military merit.

He said he later spent almost two weeks in a military hospital being treated for what he now believes to have been radiation sickness.

Kislitsin said he was demobilized in December 1945, when he signed a document pledging him to keep secret his military activities for the next 25 years.