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Germany: Ex-military officer sentenced for Russia spying

May 27, 2024

A court in Düsseldorf has sentenced a former German military officer to three and half years in prison for slipping photographs of documents related to munitions systems and aircraft technology to the Russian consulate.

The defendant seen from behind in a courtroom during a hearing in April
The 54-year-old former officer confessed to providing information to RussiaImage: Oliver Berg/dpa/picture alliance

A former German military officer was sentenced to over three years in prison for sharing secret military information with Russia.

Germany's federal prosecutor's office said, "he passed on information he had obtained in the course of his professional activities for it to be passed on to a Russian intelligence service."

The 54-year-old, identified only as Thomas H, admitted at the opening of his trial in April that the accusations against him were "broadly" accurate. "It was wrong. I stand by that," he said.

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court found him guilty of espionage.

What information was offered to Russia

Thomas H., who holds the rank of captain, had worked for the Bundeswehr procurement agency.

He was arrested in the city of Koblenz in August after he approached the Russian general consulate in Bonn and the Russian embassy in Berlin and offered them information.

Prosecutors accused him of photographing old training documents on munitions systems and aircraft technology, then dropping the material through the letterbox of the Russian consulate in Bonn. 

He also approached the Russian Embassy in Berlin and offered them information. 

Worries over nuclear war led to 'stupid idea'

Thomas H. said he did it because he was worried about a possible escalation in the war in Ukraine. 

He was particularly concerned that Germany's supply of heavy weapons systems to Ukraine could draw it into the conflict.

The former soldier came up with the "stupid idea" to provide information to the Russian, hoping to receive early warning about a potential nuclear escalation and ensure his family's safety.

"It's the biggest cock-up I've ever made in my life," the defendant said in a closing statement to the court. 

Germany: 2 suspected Russian spies arrested in Bavaria

lo/wmr (AFP, dpa)

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