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5 Mar, 2024 13:44

Germany reveals how ‘Crimean Bridge attack’ call was leaked

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius put the incident down to an oversight on the part of one Air Force officer
Germany reveals how ‘Crimean Bridge attack’ call was leaked

A lapse by a senior German Air Force officer led to the recent leak of a confidential discussion about a potential attack on Russia’s Crimean Bridge, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has said. Outside actors did not gain access to communication channels used by the German military, he insisted.

Last Friday, RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan published a 38-minute audio dated February 19, in which four officers of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), including its chief, Ingo Gerhartz, discussed how Ukraine could use long-range Taurus cruise missiles against Russia should Berlin decide to provide them.

Among other things, the officers theorized about a Ukrainian strike on the 18km Crimean Bridge, that connects the peninsula with southern Russia, as well as ways to plausibly deny Berlin’s involvement. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has previously cited fear of triggering a wider conflict as the reason his country will not supply Kiev with the missiles.

On Saturday, a German Defense Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the veracity of the leaked recording.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Pistorius revealed that according to the preliminary findings of an internal probe, the leak was made possible by an “individual user error” on the part of one of the officers. He joined the virtual meeting from Singapore, where he was attending an airshow.

“Our communication systems were not compromised,” the minister insisted.

The German defense chief also stated that a preliminary investigation had been launched into the officers’ conduct, which could result in disciplinary action against those involved in the leak.

Commenting on the breach on Sunday, Pistorius claimed that it was a “hybrid attack aimed at disinformation” and represented “part of an information war that Putin is waging.” The minister suggested that the leak was carried out with the intent to sow division within the country over the Ukraine conflict and undermine German resolve.

Scholz called the incident a “very serious matter,” adding that “it is now being investigated very intensively, very carefully and very swiftly.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the leaked discussion of “plans to launch strikes on Russian territory” by German officers “once again confirm the direct involvement of… the Collective West in the conflict around Ukraine.”

Moscow also summoned the German ambassador to Russia, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, to lodge an official protest following the leak.