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Trials: AfD-affiliated Bundeswehr officer admits spying for Russia

Trials: AfD-affiliated Bundeswehr officer admits spying for Russia

He was drawn to the AfD and the Russian consulate. A Bundeswehr officer has admitted to having served as an agent for Russia on several occasions. The stated motive does not convince the court.

A Bundeswehr officer close to the AfD has confessed to serving Russia as a spy with military information. The 54-year-old testified at the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court on Monday that he was driven by fear of a nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war.

Around the same time, he contacted the AfD and applied for membership. According to the court, his application for membership was approved in July 2023. The defendant stated that he had previously contacted the Left Party. However, he was repelled by their fundamental rejection of the Bundeswehr.

A message “probably on Tiktok” gave him the impulse to contact the Russian consulate in May 2023. The captain admitted that he had followed a pro-Russian, AfD-affiliated influencer on Tiktok at the time. But he doesn’t remember exactly what message it was.

He wanted to be able to get his family to safety in time. He sought contact with the Russian side to get timely information “when it will explode.” He assumed that tactical nuclear weapons would soon be used.

“I was at my worst”

“I only saw this way.” Today he regrets this and, looking back, sees it as a mistake. He was in a very poor mental state at the time – “I was at my worst” – had lost 18 kilograms, hardly slept and was plagued by anxiety.

The presiding judge said that the motivation mentioned was “very difficult to understand” for him. It was apparently easier for the defendant to betray his country than to go to the doctor. Looking back, this is incomprehensible to him, said the 54-year-old. “I didn’t have my life under control.”

For a long time he avoided going to a doctor or psychologist. He was ultimately diagnosed with severe burnout with anxiety disorders and panic attacks. He avoided the word depression.

At the time, he was in the fourth year of severe burnout, barely slept and was chronically overworked in the Bundeswehr. He also suffered serious health consequences from the third corona vaccination.

Power of attorney to leave the party granted

He largely admitted the accusations made by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. “Most of it is true,” he said. However, he denied having passed on a CD with downloaded files from a Bundeswehr drive to the Russian consulate.

He only had doubts about his actions at the end of July 2023, when he was feeling better mentally. He has now given his partner power of attorney to leave the party, but he doesn’t know whether this has already been implemented.

The professional soldier is on trial for particularly serious espionage for Russia. The 54-year-old was responsible for electronic warfare systems as a Bundeswehr captain, a representative of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said on Monday.

Air Force training documents photographed

His goal was “to give the Russian armed forces an advantage against the background of the current political situation.”

According to federal prosecutors, he loaded information from a Bundeswehr drive onto a CD and put it in the mailbox of the Russian consulate. He also took photos of Air Force training documents with his cell phone.

From May 2023 onwards, the captain sent confidential information to the Russian consulate in Bonn and the Russian embassy in Berlin several times with the addition: “I would be happy to hear more”. Although he received no response, he tried again and again: by mail, by email, with telephone calls from the Internet and from a pay phone.

He advertised himself as an agent by saying that the knowledge he could provide would “mean a considerable plus for the Russian armed forces and the Russian Federation.” He faces up to ten years in prison.

Officials from the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested the captain in Koblenz on August 9th. He has been in custody ever since. At that time, emergency services searched the accused’s apartment and workplace. The Senate, chaired by Judge Lars Bachler, has scheduled seven days of hearings for the trial until June 24th.

Source: Stern

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