1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany arrests military aide suspected of spying for Russia

August 9, 2023

A German man is suspected of providing information on his work for a division of the German military to Russian secret services. Prosecutors say he visited Russia's embassy and general consulate multiple times this year.

Russian flag atop embassy in Berlin, Germany
A German citizen has been arrested for allegedly providing information to Russia's embassy and general consulateImage: Michael Kuenne/Zumapress/picture alliance

A German man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of spying for Moscow, federal prosecutors said. 

He was arrested in the city of Koblenz in the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Prosecutors said that the suspect approached the Russian consulate in the city of Bonn in the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and also the Russian embassy in Berlin.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann praised prosecutors for their work on the social media platform X, and said the suspect was an officer in the German military "strongly suspected" of working for a foreign secret service. 

What do we know about the suspect?

The man, who was identified as Thomas H, had visited the embassy and consulate "on his own initiative" multiple times since May and offered his cooperation, prosecutors said in a statement. 

He is suspected of providing information on his work for a division of the German military, the Bundeswehr, to the diplomatic missions with the intention of having it be passed on to a Russian secret service.

The man worked for the Bundeswehr's procurement agency, the Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support department. The agency is based in Koblenz, where the man was arrested. 

The man's apartment and workplace have been searched by investigators. 

Investigations were conducted in close coordination with military intelligence and Germany's domestic security agency, the BfV.

German security agency warns of 'aggressive' Russian espionage

In June, the BfV warned against the of an "aggressive Russian espionage operation."The BfV said in its annual report that the Kremlin had an increased interest in information gathering.

"In future, a more clandestine and aggressive Russian espionage operation is to be expected as well as cyberspace activities originating from Russia," it said.

The report said that Russian intelligence services were trying to "bring new employees to Germany."

In mid-April, Germany expelled a number of Russian diplomats over espionage concerns, after which Moscow ordered over 20 German diplomats to leave Russia.

A month later, Russia put a limit of 350 on the number of German personnel in the country, effectively expelling hundreds of members of staff of diplomatic missions and other institutions.

In response, Berlin ordered the closure of four of Russia's five consulates in Germany.

sdi/wmr (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

*Editor's note: DW follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing the full names of alleged criminals.

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.