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Germany: Former officer admits to spying for Russia

A former German army officer admitted Monday to having spied on police. for the benefit of Russia, explaining his act by his willé to avoid a nuclear escalation in the war in Ukraine, on the first day of his trial.

The man whom the federal prosecutor's office simply refers to as Thomas H., 54, admitted before the Düsseldorf court to having transmitted information to the Russian consulate in Bonn.

“It was bad, I accept it”, he said in front of the judge.

The man then worked with the rank of captain 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 significantly since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with Germany becoming the second largest supplier of military aid to kyiv, behind the United States. Unis.

Thomas H. was arrested in August 2023 in the city of Koblenz.

– Far right –

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's indictment read at the start of the hearing.

He would have photographed, in addition to several saved computer files, old documents on the use of munitions and aeronautical technology.

The man then left these documents in a mailbox at the consulate in Bonn, in addition to his contact details and allegedly offered to provide others. In the absence of a response, he would then have made other contacts.

The accused admitted having offered his services as a spy but disputed having given a CD with sensitive technical data as accused by the prosecution.

There was “nothing serious” in the information transmitted, he said, stressing that he essentially wanted to prove his status as a Bundeswehr soldier.

The former officer, who also made contact at the same time with the far-right AfD party which he asked to join, explained his action by his fear of a nuclear escalation in the war against Ukraine.

In Germany, both the extreme right and the extreme left denounce this country's deliveries of heavy weapons to Kiev to defend itself against the Russians. The accused said he wanted above all to protect his family.

This is how he would have had the “stupid idea”, he said, of addressed to the consulate, also expressing his growing dissatisfaction with the German government of Olaf Scholz.

Thomas H., who clearly distanced himself from his actions, also claimed to have suffered from concentration and sleep problems at the time. He linked them to years of work overload and what he claims were side effects of Covid-19 vaccines.

He claimed to have entered a “vicious circle”.

– Multiplication of espionage cases

The hearings are expected to last until the end of June. The former captain faces up to 10 years in prison.

Last year, German domestic intelligence warned of an intensification of espionage for Russia after the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine.

The latest example dates back only to April 18. Two men, with Russian and German nationality, have been indicted for planning acts of sabotage for the benefit of Russia, including at a US army base, in order 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 that he categorically rejects.

In November 2022, a German man was given a suspended sentence for passing information to Russian intelligence services while working in as a reserve officer for the Bundeswehr.

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

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