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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Germany accuses Russia of ‘information war’ after military recording

On Saturday, Germany called it an apparent act of eavesdropping and said it was investigating

By REUTERS
March 04, 2024
Germany’s Defence Minister Boris Pistorius can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Germany’s Defence Minister Boris Pistorius can be seen in this image. — AFP/File 

FRANKFURT: Germany’s defence minister said on Sunday Russia was conducting an “information war” aimed at creating divisions within Germany, his first reaction to the publication in Russia of an audio recording of a meeting of senior German military officials.

Russian media on Friday published a 38-minute recording of a call in which German officers were heard discussing weapons for Ukraine and a potential strike by Kyiv on a bridge in Crimea, prompting Russian officials to demand an explanation.

On Saturday, Germany called it an apparent act of eavesdropping and said it was investigating.

“The incident is much more than just the interception and publication of a conversation ... It is part of an information war that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is waging,” Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Sunday.

“It is a hybrid disinformation attack. It is about division. It is about undermining our unity.” The Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations of spreading false or misleading information when faced with allegations from other countries.

A Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said on social media on Friday: “We demand an explanation from Germany,” without detailing its particular concerns.

Russia’s embassy in Berlin has not responded to an emailed request for comment. Participants in the call discuss the possible delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to Kyiv, which Chancellor Olaf Scholz has publicly so far firmly rejected. They also talk about the training of Ukrainian soldiers, and possible military targets.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to journalists on Saturday about “cunning plans of the Bundeswehr (German armed forces), which became apparent due to the publication of this audio recording. This is a blatant self-exposure.” Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Sunday the recording indicated that Berlin was preparing to fight Moscow.