News

Fury at ‘unreliable’ Germany revealing secrets of British military ties with Ukraine after Russia intercepts ‘insecure’ online chat between Berlin’s top brass


Germany is facing fury today after an air force chief revealed secret UK operations in Ukraine on an ‘insecure’ telephone line.

Berlin has been branded ‘unreliable’ in the wake of a call between Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz and senior Luftwaffe officers being intercepted by Russia.

The discussions included confirmation that British personnel are deployed in Ukraine, and details of how Storm Shadow missiles are deployed in the country.

The talks also laid bare a split between the German military and Chancellor Olaf Scholz about whether to supply Kyiv with their own Taurus missile system.

Mr Scholz has confirmed the recording aired by Moscow‘s state broadcaster is genuine and described the security breach as ‘very serious’.

The breach could compromise Britain and France‘s arms transfers to Ukraine and hamper the vital use of cruise missiles by Kyiv in its war against Russia.

It will also further inflame tensions between NATO allies, after Mr Scholz previously referred publicly to UK military being on the ground in Ukraine.   

Former defence secretary Ben Wallace said the episode showed Germany was ‘neither secure nor reliable’.

‘We know Germany is pretty penetrated by Russian intelligence so it just demonstrates they are neither secure nor reliable,’ he told The Times.

A call between the Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz (pictured) and senior Luftwaffe officers was bugged by Russian spies

A call between the Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz (pictured) and senior Luftwaffe officers was bugged by Russian spies

The talks included confirmation that the British military is being deployed in Ukraine (pictured: British troops taking part in military exercises in Poland)

The talks included confirmation that the British military is being deployed in Ukraine (pictured: British troops taking part in military exercises in Poland) 

Russia intercepted the 38-minute call between Lieutenant Gerhartz and three senior officers on February 19 after they used standard video conferencing software instead of an encrypted line.

The head of Russian state broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, published the audio recording on messaging app Telegram on Friday.

According to a Russian transcript of the call, the head of the German air force said: ‘If we’re asked about delivery methods, I know how the British do this. They always transport them in Ridgeback armoured vehicles. They have several people on the ground.’

Gerhartz also explained during the call how the French ‘send [Audi] Q7s loaded with Scalp missiles to Ukraine’.

The revelations in this second security blunder will help Russian intelligence to track and locate such vehicles in Europe and on Ukraine’s territory.

Gerhartz further added that Britain had outfitted Ukrainian aircraft with Storm Shadows and could help with the transfer of Taurus missiles to Ukraine.

According to the air force chief, Germany is considering sending 100 of its 600 Taurus missiles to Kviv in two batches of 50. 

Gerhartz says this is to ensure the missile ‘won’t change the course of hostilities’.

He added: ‘That’s why we don’t want to send all of them. And not all of them in one batch. We may first send 50 missiles, and then give them another 50. This is absolutely clear, but this is big politics.

‘I have learnt from my French and British colleagues that the situation with the Storm Shadow and Scalp missiles is the same.’

The missiles have a range of 500km and the officers were heard discussing targets the Ukrainians might hit with them, such as Russian ammunition depots and the Kerch Bridge to Crimea.

Former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt told Times Radio those involved in the call should be ‘heavily censured’.

‘I was very disappointed to read that story,’ he said. ‘I think the German air force officers who were talking on an open line, frankly, they should be censured pretty heavily.’

Ex-defence committee chair Tobias Ellwood said the ‘interception and the leak of military planning discussion is worrying on a number of decibel levels’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that one aspect is ‘why wasn’t basic concept protocols followed’ and another is ‘how this plays out in Germany’.

added that ‘given the intensity of Russia’s spying on Germany and others, they probably have not learned anything that they didn’t already guess already’. But that ‘does not prevent some serious conversations taking place in the diplomatic corridors between Germany and Britain and indeed Nato, as well as to why this happened in the first place’. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed a recording released by Russia 's state broadcaster was genuine and described the security breach as 'very serious'.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed a recording released by Russia ‘s state broadcaster was genuine and described the security breach as ‘very serious’.

Germany is considering sending 100 of its 600 Taurus missiles (pictured) in two batches of 50 to Ukraine

Germany is considering sending 100 of its 600 Taurus missiles (pictured) in two batches of 50 to Ukraine 

German politicians said Russia had leaked the conversation to put pressure on the Chancellor not to supply the Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.

Mr Scholz has so far refused to send the missiles, which are similar to the British Storm Shadow, amid political divisions in the country.

Former defence secretary Ben Wallace told the Times: ‘We know Germany is pretty penetrated by Russian intelligence so it just demonstrates they are neither secure nor reliable.’

The Ministry of Defense has refused to comment. 



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button