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Germany. Officers’ conversations are a problem for Berlin – comments

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Last week’s leak of a conversation between German officers about Ukraine, published in Russian media, is a source of embarrassment for Berlin, foreign media say. As Reuters reported, although the reaction from allies has been rather modest so far, analysts say the issue is likely to strain Germany’s relations with its partners. – This hybrid attack was intended to create uncertainty and division between us – a government spokesman said on Monday. “And that’s what we won’t allow,” he said.

Margarita Simonyan, head of Russia’s English-language state television RT, published a recording of the 38-minute conversation on Friday. This was a discussion by “senior Luftwaffe officers” regarding the theoretical use by Ukraine German Taurus cruise missiles.

According to the media – including dpa and Reuters – the discussions included, among others: about the possible transfer of Taurus missiles to Ukraine and whether “they would be technically capable of destroying the bridge built by Russia to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, annexed in violation of international law.” Reuters wrote that the military is also discussing how France and Great Britain deliver and prepare Kiev to operate its own cruise missiles with a range shorter by half.

Disagreement with Scholz’s declarations, the “red line” and the commercial platform

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The conversation was attended by, among others, Air Force Inspector Ingo Gerhartz, who mentions rumors that the Taurus system “doesn’t even work.” He also suggests that German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius wondered “what it would be like” if Germany finally decided to deliver Taurus to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly ruled out sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine. He argued that this was due to fears that missiles with a range of about 500 km could be used to strike the territory of Russia.

Military officials discuss logistical problems related to the Crimean Bridge strike and say Ukrainians will need help planning the mission, which could be seen as Germany’s involvement in the war and a “red line for the government.”

In the published recording, the interlocutors also say that due to the complexity of the Taurus system, the Ukrainians would need training in its use conducted by German staff. On Monday, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the involvement of German soldiers in such a task “is completely excluded.”

In another part of the conversation, the officers claim that Taurus will not change the course of the war and that the country will send no more than 100 missiles. They add that the political pretext for sending the Taurus system could result from the fact that the British and French largely ran out of Storm Shadows and Scalp missiles.

There was criticism in the public discussion that the conversation was conducted on the Webex conferencing platform rather than on a secure military platform. Additionally, according to Reuters, officials confirmed that one of the call participants connected from his hotel room in Singapore.

Germany confirms the interception, not the authenticity of the recording

The Ministry of Defense confirmed that the call was “intercepted”, but said it could not say whether the recording was faked. At the same time, Germany accused Moscow of waging an “information war”. Military Counterintelligence (MAD) is investigating the security breach. However, it is unclear whether the results of the investigation will be made public.

At the same time, the opposition in the Bundestag is calling for a parliamentary investigation, but Scholz’s allies oppose the calls.

Problems in alliance relations?

According to Reuters, although the reaction from allies has not been very effusive so far, analysts say the issue is likely to strain Germany’s relations with its allies. Experts also point out that this is a serious security breach and shows the scale of Berlin’s reluctance to get too involved war in Ukraine.

“This hybrid attack was intended to create uncertainty and division between us,” a German government spokesman said on Monday. He said: – And that’s exactly what we won’t allow. We are in constant contact with our partners.

There were also other comments from German officials on this matter. – This is a wake-up call that we are Putin’s target – German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the Handelsblatt daily, referring to the leak of intercepted military conversations. – From what we know so far, no confidential information has been made public as a result of this Russian espionage attempt, he added.

British MP on “tension” between the army and the Chancellor

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman told reporters that Germany must investigate the video and emphasized that Britain would continue to work with Belin to support Ukraine. He also noted that Great Britain was the first country to provide Ukraine with long-range precision missiles. “We would encourage our allies to do the same,” the spokesman added.

Tobias Ellwood, a member of the British Parliament and former chairman of the Commonwealth Defense Committee, told the BBC that the leak was “disturbing on many levels”.

The politician said it revealed “tension between senior German military officials who want the Tauruses deployed and the German chancellor who appears increasingly focused on his political survival rather than what is best for the continent.”

At the same time, in the MP’s opinion, due to Russia’s extensive espionage operations, she probably did not learn anything new. – This does not prevent serious talks from being held along diplomatic corridors between Germany and Great Britain, or even FOR THISas well as in explaining why it happened at all, he said.

As Reuters noted, Germany has experienced several security-related information leaks in recent years. At the end of 2022, the authorities also arrested an employee of the Foreign Intelligence Service (BND), whom they suspected of spying for Russia.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/GIUSEPPE LAMI



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