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Germany embarrassed by Ukraine-linked espionage case

Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised on Saturday a "very thorough" after the broadcast from Russia of confidential exchanges between several German officers on arms deliveries to Germany. Ukraine, with extremely embarrassing content for Berlin.

The German Defense Ministry has confirmed that a secret Air Force conversation was indeed illegally wiretapped.

“According to our assessment, a conversation within the Air Force division was intercepted,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

And, while not giving 100% validation, she made a pretty clear connection to the leaked conversation: “We are unable to say with certainty whether any changes have been made to the recorded or transcribed version that circulates on social networks”, she added.

The controversy emerged after the broadcast, Friday in Russia on social networks, of the recording of a conversation between high-ranking German officers by videoconference.

The Editor-in-chief of Russian state channel RT, Margarita Simonyan, published the file, lasting more than half an hour, presenting it as an exchange dated February 19.

– Crimean Bridge –

In this conversation, which AFP listened to, the participants speak in particular the hypothesis of the delivery to Kiev of long-range German-made Taurus missiles, what would be necessary to allow Ukrainian forces to use them and their possible impact.

Germany embarrassed by Ukraine-linked espionage case

The Crimean Bridge, December 23, 2019 © AFP – Alexey NIKOLSKY

The officers particularly mention the option of strikes targeting the Crimean bridge linking the Kerch peninsula and Russian territory, with one of them emphasizing that it would take between 10 and 20 missiles to reach it. overcome. The Crimean Peninsula was annexed in 2014 by Moscow.

These exchanges, apparently preparatory to a briefing for the German government, place Berlin in an uncomfortable situation.

Because on the one hand Germany has so far refused officially any delivery of Taurus missiles, although demanded loudly and clearly by kyiv, for fear of an escalation of the war. These devices have a range of more than 500 km and could reach Moscow.

In the recording, the participants also discuss details on the deliveries and use of missiles long-range Scalp supplied since last year by France and Great Britain to Ukraine.

This part of the eavesdropping is one of the most embarrassing for Berlin because it reveals secrets of allied countries. Olaf Scholz has already recently aroused irritation in Great Britain for having claimed that the British and the French were helping Ukrainian soldiers with the handling of these missiles and the definition of targets.

This is “a very serious matter and that is why it is now the subject of a very careful, very thorough and very rapid investigation”, declared the German Chancellor at the occasion of a visit to Rome.

The public television channel ARD speaks of a “catastrophe” for the German secret services, accused of carelessness in their security measures. According to the weekly Spiegel, the videoconference took place via the public platform WebEx, and not an ultra-secure internal network of the Luftwaffe.

Germany embarrassed by Ukraine-linked espionage case

The Storm Shadow/SCALP missile © AFP – Gal ROMA, Sabrina BLANCHARD

“If this story is true, it would be highly problematic,” declared the chairman of the German parliamentary committee for monitoring the secret services, Konstantin von Notz, to the newspapers of the RND group.

– 'Sworn enemies' –

On the Russian side, the head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov, visiting Turkey, wanted to see in this affair illustrates “that the war camp in Europe is still very, very strong”.

The number two of the Russian Security Council Dmitri Medvedev judged him on his Telegram account that “our lifelong rivals, the Germans, have once again become our sworn enemies” and are preparing missile launches to strike the Russian “homeland”.

De many officials in Berlin see it as an operation by Moscow to influence the German debate on arms deliveries to Ukraine.

For the Defense expert of the liberal FDP party, member of the government coalition, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, Moscow's intention “is obvious”: to “intimidate” Olaf Scholz so that he does not reverse his refusal to deliver the Taurus, a- she told the Funke press group.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116