The German federal prosecutor’s office informed on Wednesday of the arrest of a German citizen who worked for the army, suspected of spy for Russia, amid warnings of increased espionage activities by Moscow.
The captured suspect is only the latest in a series of cases of alleged espionage for Russia in recent monthsin which Germany has intensified its support for Ukraine to become the second largest supplier of arms to kyiv to face the Russian invasion.
“The defendant is strongly suspected of working for a foreign intelligence service”the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement, adding that the suspect had offered his services to “the Russian embassy in Berlin”among other Russian institutions.
The man, identified only as thomas h. in accordance with German privacy regulationsentered pretrial detention on Wednesday after his arrest in the western city of Koblenz.
According to the prosecution, his apartment and workplace were searched.
Thomas H. had worked for the Department of Equipment, Information Technology and Service Support of the army.
According to their website, this department develops, tests and supplies weapons used by the militaryfrom complexes tank computer systems and planes until personal combat equipment used by soldiers.
“In May 2023 he went to the Russian Consulate General in Bonn and the Russian Embassy in Berlin and offered his cooperation”the prosecutors said.
“In the process, he conveyed information that he had obtained in the course of his professional activities to pass it on to a Russian intelligence service.”
“Clandestine and aggressive”
The investigation against him was carried out in close coordination with military intelligence and internal security agency, the BfV.
The Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmanthanked those responsible for the investigation against the “German officer”, stating that “surveillance continues to be the order of the day”.
The arrest came after the BfV warned in June of the risk of a “aggressive Russian spy operation”as Moscow carries out its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Western sanctions against Russia and the support for the Ukrainian military defense represented for the Kremlin a “major interest” in the collection of information, the BfV stated in its annual report.
“In the future, expect a more clandestine and aggressive Russian spy operation, as well as activities in cyberspace from Russia”, stated the BfV.
Russian intelligence services were trying “bring new employees to Germany”as well as continue or renew activities with existing staff.
In the middle of April, Berlin expelled several Russian diplomats for espionage reasonswhich led to the expulsion of 20 German diplomats from Moscow.
One month after, Russia limited the number of authorized German personnel to 350 to reside in the country, forcing hundreds of local civil servants and employees working for German institutions in Russia to leave the country.
Berlin was quick to retaliate, ordering the closure of four of Moscow’s five consulates in Germany.
The last December, A member of the German foreign intelligence agency BND was detained for allegedly passing information obtained at work to the Russian secret services, and an alleged accomplice was arrested the following month.
Authorities revealed little information about that case, but media outlets suggest he had access to sensitive information obtained through BND wiretaps around the world.
In November 2022, a German was sentenced to a suspended sentence for providing information to Russian intelligence services while working as a reserve officer in the German army.
And the month before, Germany’s cybersecurity chief, Arne Schönbohm, he was ousted after a satirical television show aired allegations that he had links to Russian intelligence services.
(With information from AFP)
The moment of the explosion that destroyed a factory linked to the Russian Defense Ministry near Moscow
The US assured that the Russian bombings in Ukraine demonstrate Vladimir Putin’s refusal for a peace agreement
Ukraine warned of a possible escalation of Russian attacks after the end of summer