Russia claims the capture of Semenivka, a village in eastern Ukraine, where its army is rapidly advancing

German soldier tried for spying for Moscow

A German officer appears in court in Düsseldorf from Monday on charges of spying for the benefit of Moscow. The man, simply referred to by the federal prosecutor as Thomas H.was arrested in August 2023 in the city of Koblenz.

He is accused of having transmitted information to the Russian intelligence services while he worked in the main IT and logistics department of the Bundeswehr, responsible in particular for the management of military equipment.

This department, which has around 12,000 employees, has seen its work increase considerably since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, with Germany having become the second largest contributor of military aid to kyiv, behind the United States.

In May 2023, the suspect “approached the Russian Consulate General in Bonn and the Russian Embassy in Berlin and offered cooperation”according to the prosecution. “He then passed on information he had obtained in the course of his professional activities for transmission to a Russian intelligence service”he added.

According to German media, the soldier had access to particularly sensitive information, particularly concerning electronic warfare systems.

Thomas H. had, according to the magazine Der Spiegel, the rank of captain in the army department responsible for purchasing electronic warfare equipment allowing in particular to disrupt the enemy’s air defense systems. The man is accused of being an intelligence agent and of having violated the rules of defense secrecy. The hearings are expected to last until the end of June.

Last year, German domestic intelligence services warned of increased spying for Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, which increased tensions between the West and Moscow. The latest example dates back to April 18. Two men, with Russian and German nationality, have been charged with planning acts of sabotage for Russia, including at a US army base, to undermine German aid to Ukraine.

A former German secret agent is also currently on trial in Berlin for having transmitted classified information to the Russian security services (FSB) in the fall of 2022, an accusation he categorically denies. In November 2022, a German man was also given a suspended sentence for passing information to Russian intelligence services while working as a reserve officer for the Bundeswehr.

German authorities have pledged to take a hard line in response to the proliferation of cases of this type. “We can never accept that espionage activities take place in Germany”Chancellor Olaf Scholz recently said.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Germany has expelled numerous Russian diplomats, accused of being a threat to the country’s security.

Berlin also closed four of the five Russian consulates present on its soil, in retaliation for the restrictions imposed by Moscow on its own diplomatic representation in Russia.

source site-29