German Military Employee Arrested on Suspicions of Espionage for Russia
Moscow Carries Out Aggressive Intelligence in Germany
A German citizen employed in the country's military was arrested on suspicion of espionage for Russia, intensifying concerns about Moscow's aggressive intelligence activities in Berlin and beyond.
The federal prosecutor's office stated that the individual, identified only as Thomas H. by German privacy regulations, allegedly offered his services to various Russian institutions, including the Russian embassy in Berlin. The arrest took place on July 27 in Koblenz, a city located over 600 km southwest of the German capital.
The accused was associated with the army's Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support Department. Searches were conducted at both his residence and workplace following the arrest.
According to prosecutors, Thomas H. approached the Russian general consulate in Bonn and the Russian embassy in Berlin in May 2023, offering to cooperate. He is believed to have shared information obtained through his professional activities to be relayed to Russian intelligence.
The arrest follows a warning issued by Germany's domestic security agency, the BfV, in June, cautioning about the potential for an "aggressive Russian espionage operation" in conjunction with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The agency's annual report emphasized the Kremlin's escalating interest in information from Berlin due to Western sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine's military actions.
The report projected an increase in covert Russian espionage activities, including cyber operations originating from Russia. Russian intelligence was reportedly attempting to recruit new personnel in Germany and engage existing staff for ongoing operations.
This unfolding spy saga reflects a broader pattern of tit-for-tat expulsions and accusations between Germany and Russia. In April, Berlin expelled several Russian diplomats over espionage concerns, leading to reciprocal expulsions of German diplomats from Moscow.
Russia also imposed a limit on German personnel allowed in the country, effectively forcing many affiliated with German institutions to leave.