Leaks of German Calls Suspected as Russian Attempt to Divide Europe, Germany Says

A leak of German military audio recording was thought to be a hybrid attack in Russia’s attempt to provoke insecurity and divide Europe, German government spokesman said on Monday. It was swiftly investigated by Germany’s Military Counter-Intelligence Service starting at 3 March 2024 and deemed as “a very serious matter” by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Previously released by Russian state-controlled media called Russia Today, the 38-minute conversation discussed the possibility of Germany sending long-range missiles commonly known as Taurus missiles to Ukraine. The plan was previously rejected by Scholz, due to fear that Germany will be further involved in the Russia-Ukraine war in order to execute the help plan. Furthermore, the recording contains talks on how Taurus missiles would be used; one of which by targeting Kerch Bridge, an infrastructure connecting Russia with occupied Crimea. Backup plans involving France and the United Kingdom (UK) also become another topic within the tape.

Several parties believed that the German military officers who took part in the discussion had been careless due to their uncompliantness in following the usual military regulations to conduct the phone meeting. The call conference itself was held on the WebEx platform, widely known to be easy to intercept. This is contrary to their code of conduct which requires the use of an encrypted line should there be any discussion of confidential military matters.

Diplomatic talks have been conducted between Germany, UK, and even NATO under the same perplexity as to why the incident could happen. While the German government is still inquiring into the case, Germany’s ambassador Alexander Graf Lambsdorff was summoned by the Russian foreign ministry to explain the situation. It was unclear, however, on how the ambassador had responded.

Sources:

Rinke, Andreas, and Rachel More. “Germany accuses Russia of seeking to divide Europe with leaked call.” Reuters, 5 March 2024, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/kremlin-says-german-army-discussing-strikes-russia-asks-if-scholz-is-control-2024-03-04/.

“Germany investigating leak in Russia of audio purportedly showing talks on Ukraine aid.” POLITICO, 3 March 2024, https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-investigating-leak-in-russia-of-audio-purportedly-showing-discussion-of-ukraine-aid/.

Sabbagh, Dan, and Kate Connolly. “British soldiers ‘on the ground’ in Ukraine, says German military leak.” The Guardian, 4 March 2024, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/04/british-soldiers-on-ground-ukraine-german-military-leak.