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Two German-Russian nationals have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of plotting sabotage attacks, including on U.S. military facilities, in an effort to undermine military support for Ukraine. Authorities conducted searches at the homes and workplaces of the suspects, who are accused of working for a foreign secret service. Germany has become one of Kyiv’s biggest suppliers of military aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, making it a major target for Russian spying operations. Dieter S., one of the suspects, was prepared to carry out bomb and arson attacks on military facilities, including those operated by U.S. forces, and took photos and videos of military transport and equipment, according to prosecutors.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser stated that the security authorities have prevented possible explosive attacks that were intended to target and undermine military assistance to Ukraine. She described the case as a “particularly serious case of alleged spy activity for (President Vladimir) Putin’s criminal regime.” Dieter S. is suspected of being a fighter for Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine from 2014 to 2016 in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and is in possession of a firearm. The facilities targeted for sabotage attacks included the Grafenwoehr army base in Bavaria where Ukrainian soldiers receive training to use U.S. Abrams tanks.

The Kremlin has denied having any information about the arrests, and the Russian embassy in Berlin stated that it had not been officially notified. The U.S. embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This comes after prosecutors charged an officer in Germany’s military procurement agency last month with attempting to pass secret information to Russian intelligence. The news of the arrests coincided with a surprise trip by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck to Ukraine, and Germany issued an urgent appeal for countries to help strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses as Russian forces continue to attack Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

The arrests come as tensions between Russia and the West, particularly Germany, escalate due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Germany has been a significant supplier of military aid to Ukraine and is fully committed to supporting the country in its defense against Russian aggression. The suspects were involved in planning sabotage attacks on military facilities, including those operated by U.S. forces, in an attempt to undermine this support. The case highlights the prevalence of Russian spying operations in Germany and the importance of maintaining vigilance against threats to national security.

German authorities have taken swift action to prevent potential attacks that could have jeopardized military assistance to Ukraine. The arrests underscore the seriousness of the alleged spy activity and the lengths to which individuals may go to carry out acts of sabotage. The German government remains resolute in its support for Ukraine and calls for international assistance to bolster the country’s air defenses in the face of ongoing Russian aggression. These recent events serve as a stark reminder of the complex geopolitical dynamics at play in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the need for continued vigilance and cooperation among allies to address security threats effectively.

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