‘Russian spies’ arrested in Germany attempting to attack weapons deliveries to Ukraine


German police have arrested two suspected Russian agents who were allegedly planning sabotage attacks on US military bases and attack weapons deliveries to Ukraine.

The two Russian-German spies were arrested by police commandos on Wednesday morning in the town of Bayreuth, prosecutors disclosed on Thursday morning.

It is the latest in a string of espionage scandals to shock Germany – a German intelligence officer is currently on trial in a separate case for allegedly passing intelligence to Moscow.

The main suspect in the Bavaria case has been identified only as Dieter S, a 39-year-old German-Russian citizen. He is accused of acting as an agent for Moscow for attempted sabotage and for “depicting” military facilities in a way that puts national security at risk.

A statement released by German federal prosecutors states that the pair are “strongly suspected of having worked for a foreign secret service,” with Dieter S suspected of being “prepared to carry out explosives and arson attacks.”

German prosecutors said Dieter S had been in contact with an individual linked to the Russian secret service since October 2023 and that he had agreed to carry out attacks on industrial sites, weapons factories and military infrastructure.

His apparent goal was to target transport routes in Germany used to move arms deliveries, such as those being sent to support the Ukrainian army against Russian invaders.

Dieter S allegedly scouted US military facilities in Grafenwöhr, Bavaria, such as a training area which provides training to Ukrainian soldiers, including on the use of the US Abrams tank.

“In preparation, Dieter S. collected information about potential attack targets, including US military facilities,” federal prosecutors said. “Dieter S scouted out some of the targeted objects on site, taking photos and videos, for example of military transport and goods.”

Dieter S’s alleged accomplice was identified only as Alexander J. Dieter S was taken to a court in Karlsruhe to face judges on Wednesday and then placed into custody. The suspects’ lawyers did not immediately comment on the accusations according to Spiegel, the German magazine which first broke news of the arrests.

Both suspects are members of the Donetsk People’s Republic, prosecutors said, the pro-Russian group designated as a foreign terror organisation in Germany.

The arrests will concern Nato leaders as they are the latest in a series of high-profile spying scandals to hit Germany.

In March, Russia intercepted and published details of a sensitive phone call between German air force officers discussing a potential delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukrainian forces. The call was leaked after two of the officers dialled in using insecure phone lines.

Germany at the time stressed that the conference call software itself had not been breached and was not taking disciplinary action against the officers at fault.

In a separate development, a German intelligence officer on trial in Germany for passing state secrets to Russia has insisted he is innocent, claiming he was working in Berlin’s security interests.

At a court hearing on Wednesday, Carsten Linke said prosecutors have got his case the wrong way around, insisting that he was actually spying on Germany’s behalf on a Russian businessman.

Mr Linke, 52, was fully identified by the Telegraph last year, with German prosecutors only referring to him as “Carsten L” under German privacy procedures.

He is accused of treason, with Germany suspecting him of leaking top secret intelligence to Moscow for which he allegedly received cash payments.

Colleagues of Mr Linke at the BND, the German foreign intelligence agency, said they were aware that he had sympathies for the far-Right.

Despite this he passed a background check and was promoted shortly before his arrest.

In February 2023 an employee of the British embassy in Berlin, David Smith, was jailed for 13 years for selling secrets to Russia after an MI5 sting.