German spy chief evacuated from Ukraine – reports
Spymaster Bruno Kahl, the president of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), has been taken from Ukraine to Poland by special agents, the German news magazine Focus reported on Friday. Kahl had supposedly been in Kiev to meet with Ukrainian colleagues when Russian forces moved on the city.
Kahl reportedly arrived in Kiev several days before Russia launched a military attack in Ukraine. When German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on her citizens to leave the country on Thursday, diplomats and intelligence operatives were evacuated by a special detachment of German police, Focus reported.
As Russia swiftly gained control of Ukrainian airspace and Russian units closed in on Kiev, Kahl was unable to reach this evacuation unit on time, the magazine continued. Instead, agents of the BND were sent in to take the spy chief to Poland on Friday.
Der Spiegel confirmed Focus’ reporting, saying that Kahl was brought to Poland in a convoy of vehicles, at the same time as droves of Ukrainian civilians made for the country’s EU borders.
According to both outlets, Kahl is expected back in Berlin on Friday evening.
Kahl had been in Kiev to “discuss the background” of the current conflict with Russia, according to Focus. While Germany, like other NATO countries, has declined to intervene militarily in Ukraine, it is unclear what assistance Kahl’s agency is offering Kiev.
By Friday afternoon, Russian troops had reached the outskirts of Kiev from multiple sides, and claimed to have captured a key airfield outside the Ukrainian capital. The Ukrainian government has taken to arming civilians and lowering age restrictions for military service, while President Volodymyr Zelensky has signaled that he is willing to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia also expressed an interest in negotiation, but, by Friday evening, no agreement could be reached on a location for talks, and Moscow claimed Kiev had cut communication and that Ukraine’s military had ordered units to enter densely populated sectors of the capital.
Moscow is demanding that Kiev disarm, commit to neutrality, and drop its aspirations of NATO membership. While the West has responded to Russia’s offensive with condemnation, sanctions, and military aid for Ukraine, Russia insists the offensive is necessary to defend the people of the Donbass region from Ukrainian aggression and safeguard Russia’s national security.