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Suspicion of espionage: German-Russians are said to have spied

Suspicion of espionage: German-Russians are said to have spied

The Federal Prosecutor General has had two Germans from Russia arrested. They are suspected of espionage. Acts of sabotage were also probably planned. One of them is said to have fought in Donbass.

A new case of suspected Russian espionage is causing a stir – also in politics. In Bavaria, the police arrested two men who are said to have scouted out possible attack targets in Germany for Moscow. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) summoned the Russian ambassador; A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed a corresponding “Bild” report.

According to the Federal Prosecutor General, the two Russian-Germans, who were picked up by officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office at two different locations in the Bayreuth area, were involved in sabotage operations. These were intended in particular to “undermine the military support provided by Germany to Ukraine against the Russian war of aggression.” “Der Spiegel” first reported on the case.

The Federal Prosecutor General said the defendants are strongly suspected of having worked for a foreign secret service in a particularly serious case. The older of the two arrested on Wednesday, Dieter S., is also accused of conspiring to cause an explosive explosion and arson, as well as acting as an agent for sabotage purposes and portraying military installations that endanger the security.

According to the information, the men who were born in Russia both have German and Russian citizenship. Investigators searched their homes and places of work.

Willingness to sabotage signaled

Specifically, Dieter S. is said to have been communicating with someone connected to a Russian secret service about possible sabotage operations since at least last October. He is said to have agreed to carry out explosives and arson attacks, especially on military infrastructure and industrial sites in Germany. According to the Federal Prosecutor General, Dieter S. collected information about potential attack targets, including facilities of the US armed forces. The second accused, Alexander J., had been helping him since March at the latest.

According to information from the German Press Agency, the locations scouted out, which “Spiegel” also reported on, include the US base in Grafenwöhr and other military facilities in Bavaria. Dieter S. is said to have spied out and photographed some of the objects targeted on site, such as military transport. However, according to reports, an attack on one of the objects was not imminent.

An investigating judge ordered S. to be remanded in custody on Wednesday. The arrest warrant against J. was executed.

Germany in the focus of the Russian secret service

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) summoned the Russian ambassador after the arrest. A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed a corresponding report in the “Bild” newspaper. It was initially unknown when exactly the appointment would take place.

“We know that the Russian power apparatus is also focusing on our country,” said Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP). Germany must respond to this threat defensively and decisively.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) spoke of a particularly serious case of suspected spy activity for Russia. “We will continue to provide massive support to Ukraine and will not allow ourselves to be intimidated,” she assured.

The accused is said to have fought for separatists in Donbass

According to the Federal Prosecutor General, Dieter S. is also strongly suspected of having joined an armed unit as a fighter in the “Donetsk People’s Republic”, which is classified as a foreign terrorist organization. He is said to have been active for this pro-Russian organization in eastern Ukraine between December 2014 and September 2016 and to have had a firearm. In 2014, separatists loyal to Moscow broke away from Kiev after the fall of Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych. The new pro-Western leadership in Kiev then tried in vain to regain control of Donetsk and other towns in Donbass with a military operation.

Money, desire for recognition or political conviction as a motive

It is not the first suspected espionage case to concern the Federal Prosecutor’s Office:

– A former employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is currently on trial in Berlin. The federal prosecutor’s office accuses him and a businessman of treason in a particularly serious case. They are said to have given secret documents and information from the German foreign intelligence service to the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB in September and October 2022. According to the indictment, they received an “agent’s wage” of 450,000 euros or 400,000 euros. The two Germans are in custody.

– Last August, a professional soldier who worked at the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr was arrested in Koblenz. The facility is responsible for equipping the Bundeswehr with materials and weapons as well as the development, testing and procurement of military technology. From May 2023, the man is said to have offered cooperation to the Russian Consulate General in Bonn and the Russian Embassy in Berlin several times.

– The Bundeswehr has noticed an increasing number of drone overflights at its locations since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Among other things, suspected cases were recorded in Wildflecken in Bavaria, in Grafenwöhr and in Idar-Oberstein in Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as at the Altengrabow military training area in Saxony-Anhalt.

New espionage case also raises political questions

“It remains urgent to bring together evidence of various operations, to recognize the holistic strategy behind them and to analyze the resulting patterns in order to defend ourselves and assert ourselves against them,” said Green internal politician Konstantin von Notz (Greens). He is chairman of the Bundestag committee that meets secretly to control the secret services and demanded: “Germany must be significantly more robust, resilient and defensive in the future.”

The Green Party leader, Omid Nouripour, also wonders whether enough is being done here. “The allegations in the room are another sign of how deeply rooted Russian agent networks are in Germany and how long-term planning is taking place,” says the co-chairman. It is therefore urgently necessary to pay more attention to counterintelligence and to equip the police and intelligence services for this task.

Source: Stern

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