Germany accuses Russia of “information war” after spy leak – DW – 03/03/2024

Moscow had previously been waging an “information war” against Germany Intercepting and publishing a sensitive discussion between senior German army officers regarding UkraineGerman Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said.

Responding to the leak for the first time on Sunday, Pistorius accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of seeking to sow division and create divisions within Germany.

The German minister said: “It is about using this recording to destabilize and destabilize us.” He expressed his “hope that Putin will not succeed.”

Pistorius told reporters in Berlin that the audio leak was part of Russia's attempt to sow divisionPhoto: Matthias Schrader/AP/Image Alliance

The head of Russia's state broadcaster, Margarita Simonyan, released a 38-minute audio recording of four officers discussing the possibility of sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine late Friday. The Defense Ministry in Berlin said on Saturday that it believed the audio recording was authentic and that the conversation had been eavesdropped.

What else did Pistorius say?

The Defense Minister said, “The incident is much more than just intercepting and publishing a conversation… It is part of an information war waged by Putin.”

He added that He has not yet received any information about other leaks that Moscow may have intercepted. He added that the results of the internal investigation are expected to appear early next week.

Pistorius indicated that one of the issues being considered is whether the appropriate platform was chosen for the meeting. The conversation reportedly took place on the communications platform Webex.

The minister said he would not “speculate on the consequences for employees” until the investigation into the matter is completed. He did not rule out “disciplinary measures” against those found to have “behaved wrongly.”

German Defense Minister: Russia is waging an “information war”

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Improve training for senior military officers?

Parliament's Special Commissioner for Military Affairs, Eva Högel of the Chancellor Olaf SchulzMeanwhile, the party's Social Democrats called for improved secure communications training for senior military officers.

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“First, all officials at every level of the German army must immediately receive comprehensive training in secure communications,” Hogel told the Funke newspaper group on Sunday. “Secondly, the stable possibility of secure and confidential information transmission and communications must be ensured.”

If that isn't already possible, immediate upgrades will be needed, Hogel said. The parliamentarian also called for rapid and increased participation in counterintelligence work, especially by the Military Counterintelligence Service, known by the abbreviation MAD.

Germany investigates Russia's exploitation of Ukraine talks

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The opposition discusses the parliamentary investigation

Discussion of the possibility of sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine has been in the news this week That won't be possible, Schultz says This is largely because this would require the presence of German forces in Ukraine or at least direct cooperation in operating the weapons.

“At no time or in any place can German soldiers be linked to the targets of this order [Taurus] System arrives. Not even in Germany,” Schulz said. He claimed that it was well known to military insiders that France and Britain, which had sent similar weapons to Ukraine, had solutions available to target control problems that “could not be implemented in Germany.”

German Chancellor: What is being circulated is very dangerous

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These comments immediately sparked criticism, including from the head of the German parliament's defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who described the chancellor's claim as “false.”

Opposition politicians in Germany told Sunday newspapers that their understanding of the texts indicated that Schulz's claim about the need for German troops on the ground to operate the Taurus missiles was probably false.

“The reports are worrying in two different respects,” Alexander Dobrindt, a prominent politician in the Bavarian Christian Social Union party, said in an interview with The Sun newspaper. Der Spiegel. “First, because the Russians clearly overheard sensitive security discussions, and also because the Chancellor may have interpreted his refusal to send the Taurus missiles as a false assertion.”

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These questions require investigation, Dobrynt said.

“The chancellor must explain his position in the Bundestag,” he said. “Given this set of facts, a parliamentary inquiry cannot be ruled out.”

The Taurus delivery has been denied so far, but not completely ruled out

Roderich Kieswetter, a defense policy expert from the Christian Democrats, said he thought so Russia He deliberately leaked the intercepted communication at this time in an attempt to “undermine the delivery of Taurus by Germany.”

He told public broadcaster ZDF that this shows how “deeply” Russian spy services have already investigated German communications on the matter, and also speculated that it may be an attempt to “shift public discourse away from the Wirecard revelations and Alexei Navalny's funeral.” “.

What's in the supposed register of German officers?

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He was referring to the death of a prominent Russian opposition leader, and the latest Russian espionage allegations involving senior members of the online financial services provider that collapsed in 2020, and whose former sales chief Jan Marszalek remains at large and accused of coordinating the espionage. For Russia in Germany and elsewhere.

The Russian leak also came within a week French President Emmanuel Macron said that stationing NATO forces in Ukraine should not be completely ruled out at some point in the future.Considering how many other red lines have already been violated over the past two years Invasion of Russia. Macron's comments prompted other NATO leaders, including Schulz, to quickly announce that they had no intention of sending troops to Ukraine.

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Although Scholz said several times that Taurus delivery is not currently planned, also pointing to the ability of missiles to reach Moscow from Ukraine, he stopped short of completely ruling it out. Germany changed its mind and sent weapons it initially refused to send to Kiev on multiple occasions during the conflict The Cheetah tanks are arguably the most famous of many such examples.

During the leak, military officials also discussed whether and how Taurus missiles could be used to destroy a bridge, in an apparent reference to the Kerch Bridge, which connects occupied Israel to Israel. Crimea To mainland Russia. Russian officials portrayed this as evidence of intent to target their territory, while NATO and most of the international community still consider it Ukrainian territory.

What is the capability of the Taurus missile?

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German intelligence is investigating how the leak occurred

The military intelligence unit MAD is trying to ascertain precisely how Russia intercepted the conversation, according to the Ministry of Defense. Media reports indicate that the conversation took place on the communications platform Webex and that participants may not have adequately encrypted their participation.

Meanwhile, former parliamentary special commissioner for the German army, Hans Peter Bartels, said he did not expect serious consequences for individuals, as for example for the most senior officer in the discussion, Lieutenant-General Ingo Gerharz of the Luftwaffe.

Speaking to the newspaper, Bartels predicted that “the federal government will not do Putin a favor by dismissing the generals of the German Air Force at the present time.” Tagsspiegel.

msh,rmt/nm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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