Micaela Burrow on August 31, 2022
Germany’s internal intelligence service opened an investigation into two senior officials in the Economy Ministry over suspicions they were working on behalf of Russia, Reuters reported, citing local media.
Economy Ministry officials brought their concerns to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, or BfV, following pro-Russian stances the two unnamed civil servants took regarding Germany’s policies toward Russian-owned companies, local publication Der Zeit reported, according to Reuters. Both officials displayed “emotional closeness to Russia,” represented in documents that contained arguments diverging from the official German line, Politico reported Der Zeit as saying.
The BfV investigated “inconsistencies in the internal papers on Nord Stream 2 and the filling level of the gas storage facilities, as well as in the report on Germany’s security of supply,” Die Zeit reported, according to Politico.
The officials allegedly took pro-Russian positions on issues related to Russian gas imports, including a bailout for the Finland-based Uniper utility company and a decision to nationalize Gazprom Germania after Russia abandoned the company in April, Reuters reported.
They also showed “sympathy for the Russian view” on whether or not Germany should put a stop to construction of the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, Der Zeit alleged, according to AFP.
One of the officials studied in Russia previously, AFP reported.
An examination of the officials’ backgrounds, personal relationships and travel records yielded no conclusive evidence of espionage, according to Reuters.
The Economy Ministry does not comment on specific cases, a spokesperson told Reuters.
Russian espionage activity has plagued Germany, both before and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. German security forces revealed intelligence that Russia may have used drones to gather information about Ukrainian troops training on Western weaponry in Germany, AFP reported on Aug. 26, citing local newspaper Der Spiegel.
Germany also suspects Moscow directed the murder of a former Chechen commander in Berlin, sentencing the Russian shooter to life in prison in 2021, AFP reported. Another man is facing trial for serving as a courier on behalf of Russia while in the German army’s reserves.
I’m so angry at ourselves for our historical failure. After Georgia, Crimea, and Donbas, we have not prepared anything that would have really deterred Putin.
— A. Kramp-Karrenbauer (@akk) February 24, 2022
Former German governments pursued a “special relationship” with Russia since 2014 but came to regret their stances after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The new administration has completely overhauled the previous government’s Russia-friendly policy. All efforts of the new administration are aimed at reducing dependence on Russian gas; this policy is rigorously implemented,” the spokesperson added.
The BfV and Economy Ministry did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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