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3 Mar, 2024 08:29

Leaked Crimean Bridge attack recording could deepen rift in NATO – WSJ

German officials reportedly spoke about the presence of foreign troops in Ukraine, something the West has denied
Leaked Crimean Bridge attack recording could deepen rift in NATO – WSJ

A leaked recording outlining the German military’s alleged plans to help Ukraine use long-range missiles to attack the Crimean Bridge could cause a rift between Berlin and its NATO allies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

On Friday, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan released a Russian-language transcript of what was claimed to be a conversation between several high-ranking Luftwaffe officers, in which they discussed the operational and targeting details of Taurus long-range missiles – which Germany is currently debating whether to send to Ukraine – as though the delivery had already been agreed upon.

The officials also spoke about how to maintain plausible deniability if Ukraine used the weapons to strike the strategically important Crimean Bridge. The German Defense Ministry has confirmed that the conversation had indeed been intercepted, with an investigation into the matter underway.

The WSJ reported, citing German officials, that the conversation is authentic, adding that the meeting took place on a non-encrypted online platform, WebEx, with one officer reportedly calling from a hotel room in Singapore. According to the article, German officials often use WebEx for sensitive conversations, with one WSJ source saying the leak should be “a wake-up call” for Berlin.

Apart from the use of Taurus missiles, German officials also allegedly mentioned the presence of foreign military personnel in Ukraine, deployed to help Kiev operate Western-supplied weapons. Russian officials have said that the presence of Western service members in Ukraine is “no secret.”

The Wall Street Journal described the recording as “a propaganda win for the Kremlin,” noting that it could strain relations between Germany and its NATO allies. It also makes the eventual delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine less likely, the paper added.

The German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Sunday, citing sources, that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz remains opposed to sending Taurus missiles to Kiev, warning it could further escalate the conflict.

The leaked recording caused an uproar in Russia, which has condemned Western arms shipments to Ukraine, saying they only prolong the conflict and make NATO countries direct participants in the hostilities. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova demanded an explanation from Berlin over the leaked recording. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Germans have “once again become our archenemies.”