Germany was preparing to expel dozens of Russian diplomats suspected of spying
German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock plans to expel more than 30 Russian diplomats – they were suspected of involvement in the creation of a network of agents, Focus writes, citing sources in security agencies.
The siloviki concluded that the personnel of diplomatic missions were using their diplomatic immunity to recruit German informants from political, military, business and scientific circles for subversion and disinformation.
Security officials believe there are about 160 Russian intelligence officers operating under the cover of diplomats in Germany, more than during the Cold War. If Burbock’s intentions come true, the expulsion will be one of the largest since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine – in April 2022, 40 Russian diplomats were declared persona non grata in Germany.
A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry accused Burbock of spying and told TASS that a “hard answer” to the possible expulsion of diplomats was ready, without giving details.
Earlier, German Interior Minister Nancy Feather said that Russian intelligence services are constantly attacking the country in various ways, and German authorities need to take more serious action to identify spies.
The search for possible moles in the German intelligence services was intensified after a suspicion in December last year an employee of the BND was arrested for treason for spying for Russia. As The Telegraph found out, the man turned out to be former footballer Karsten Linke, who ended his sports career to work in special services. The man headed electronic intelligence and internal security units. Prior to his arrest, Linke was building a successful career en route to one of the top positions in the BND and was privy to secret intelligence information, including on the war in Ukraine, exchanged between Western intelligence agencies.
In January, his alleged accomplice Arthur Eller was arrested at Munich Airport.who allegedly provided the BND with secret FSB materials. Both defendants are in custody. Their cases are being investigated by Attorney General Peter Frank.
Linke and Eller were arrested as part of an unpublished operation by US and European intelligence agencies to eliminate a Russian spy ring in Europe. Ukraine suffered more damage in a year of invasion than at any time since the end of the Cold War, recorded Washington Post.