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18 Apr, 2024 20:33

Germany arrests alleged saboteurs ‘working for Russia’

The Russian Embassy has dismissed the case as a “blatant provocation”
Germany arrests alleged saboteurs ‘working for Russia’

Two men have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of planning to sabotage local military infrastructure, including US bases, the Prosecutor General’s Office said on Thursday. Authorities claim to have linked at least one of the suspects to Russia’s security services.

Warrants for the men, identified only as Dieter S. and Alexander J. – both referred to as German-Russian dual nationals – were issued by the German Federal Court of Justice, the nation’s highest court of criminal jurisdiction, earlier in April.

Investigators said Dieter S. was “strongly suspected” of working for a Russian “intelligence service.” He is alleged to have discussed possible sabotage operations in Germany with a contact within the service since at least October 2023. The plans were aimed at “undermining military support provided by Germany to Ukraine,” the statement said.

During the conversations, Dieter S. allegedly expressed that he was ready to carry out “explosive and arson attacks” against “military and industrial sites,” including US bases on German soil.

Dieter S. allegedly took photos and videos of such sites, as well as of military transport convoys, which he then sent to his intelligence contact, the statement said.

Very few details were made public about the role of the second suspect, with law enforcement officials saying only that Alexander J. had been “helping” the main suspect since at least March 2024.

Dieter S. stands accused of “preparing a serious act of violence endangering the state,” as well as of working for a foreign intelligence agency and acting as a sabotage agent.

The Federal Court of Justice issued a separate arrest warrant against him, saying there was “strong suspicion” that he had fought for the Donetsk People's Republic between 2014 and 2016, when the two Donbass republics declared their independence from Kiev in the wake of the Maidan coup. He is therefore also accused of “membership in a foreign terrorist organization,” the Prosecutor General’s Office said, referring to the DPR.

Berlin reacted to the developments by reaffirming its commitment to helping arm Kiev.

“We will continue to provide massive support to Ukraine and will not allow ourselves to be intimidated,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has ordered her ministry to summon Russian Ambassador Sergey Nechaev to Berlin over the incident, German media reported. Moscow’s diplomatic mission confirmed the summons but denounced it as a “blatant provocation aimed at stirring up spy hysteria, which is already running high in Germany.”

The German side had provided “no evidence” suggesting the suspects with “alleged Russian citizenship” had any such plans or were in any way connected to Moscow’s security services, the embassy said.

The Russian diplomats dismissed claims about Russia’s involvement in such plots as “absurd and ridiculous.” If the arrested men do have Russian citizenship, the German Foreign Ministry must “immediately provide consular access” to them, it added.