| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Ukraine weapons treason case throws light on Russian spy threat to Germany

A court was informed on Wednesday that Russia had given a former soldier employed by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND) at least 450,000 euros in exchange for information regarding the weapons that the West was providing Ukraine with.

In a case that puts an embarrassing spotlight on Germany’s susceptibility to Russian espionage, prosecutors have charged Carsten Linke and his accomplice, a German diamond trader who was born in Russia and goes by the name Arthur Eller in trial records, with high treason.

Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine was a shock to a German security establishment that had dropped its guard as Germany settled into a lucrative energy trading relationship with its giant eastern neighbour.

The Federal Intelligence Service, which four years ago moved into a 1.5 billion euro new building, the largest such headquarters in the world, was so taken off guard that its head Bruno Kahl was in Kyiv on the morning that President Vladimir Putin launched his air, sea and land invasion of the country on Feb. 22.

Barely two months later, according to prosecutors, one of Kahl’s own intelligence officials, head of a signals intelligence unit, was hatching a plan to sell secrets to Russia’s FSB intelligence service, Putin’s own former agency.

  • Reuters