Germany arrests two for alleged military sabotage plot on behalf of Russia

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Two German-Russian nationals have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of plotting sabotage attacks, including on US military facilities, in an effort to undermine military support for Ukraine, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Authorities have searched the homes and workplaces of the two suspects, who are accused of working for a foreign secret service, the German prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

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One of the suspects, identified as Dieter S., had since October 2023 discussed possible plots with a person linked to the Russian secret service, the statement said.

Moscow said Thursday that Germany had not provided any evidence to support its claims that it had arrested two alleged Russian spies.

“No evidence was presented to prove the detainees’ plans or their possible connection to representatives of Russian structures,” the Russian embassy in Berlin said in a post on X, after its ambassador was summoned to the foreign ministry earlier on Thursday.

Germany has become one of Kyiv’s biggest suppliers of military aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and is a major target for Russian spying operations, authorities have said.

Dieter S. had been prepared to carry out bomb and arson attacks on military facilities, including those operated by US forces, the statement said, adding that he took photos and videos of military transport and equipment.

According to Spiegel magazine, the facilities included the Grafenwoehr army base in the southern state of Bavaria where Ukrainian soldiers receive training to use US Abrams tanks.

"The actions were intended in particular to undermine the military support provided by Germany to Ukraine against the Russian war of aggression," the prosecutors’ statement said.

The prosecutors suspect Dieter S., whose last name has not been disclosed due to German privacy laws, was a fighter for Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine from Dec. 2014 to Sept. 2016 in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

He is in possession of a firearm, prosecutors said.

In a separate case, prosecutors last month charged an officer in Germany’s military procurement agency with attempting to pass secret information to Russian intelligence.

News of Thursday’s arrests coincided with a surprise trip by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck to Ukraine.

Germany also issued an urgent appeal on Wednesday for countries to help shore up Ukraine’s air defenses as Russian forces continue to pound Ukrainian cities
and infrastructure.

Germany’s top security official, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, said Russia’s ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

She vowed that Germany will continue to thwart any such Russian threats. “We will continue to give Ukraine massive support and will not let ourselves be intimidated,” she said.

Faeser wouldn’t comment on details of the investigation. She said that Germany has increased its security measures since Russia sent its troops into Ukraine in 2022 and will keep evaluating them.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he couldn’t comment on the reported arrests, saying that he doesn’t have “any information on this matter.”

European officials have recently warned of Russia-linked interference networks trying to undermine European support for Ukraine in its war against Russia

with Reuters and AFP

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