Germany grapples with wave of spying threats from Russia and China

Germany grapples with wave of spying threats from Russia and China
# 28 April 2024 03:18 (UTC +04:00)

Six suspected spies have been arrested in Germany this month alone, in what has become a torrent of allegations of Russian and Chinese espionag, APA reports citing BBC.

For the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party it has proved especially embarrassing, because their top two candidates for the European elections in June have been caught in the crosshairs.

An aide to MEP Maximilian Krah, who heads the party's list, has been arrested on suspicion of spying for China. Jian G is accused of being an "employee of a Chinese secret service".

Prosecutors have also begun preliminary investigations into the politician himself over alleged payments from pro-Russian and Chinese sources. Mr Krah denies any wrongdoing.

Days earlier, Petr Bystron, the second name on the AfD list, denied allegations that he received cash from the Voice of Europe website, alleged by European intelligence to have been a front for Russian intelligence.

But the allegations go well beyond the AfD.

Two German nationals of Russian origin have been arrested on suspicion of plotting to sabotage Germany's military aid to Ukraine while three Germans have been detained for allegedly planning to pass on advanced engine designs to Chinese intelligence.

"It is really unusual to have detentions of three networks [allegedly] engaged in some sort of espionage for Russia and China coming almost at the same time," said Noura Chalati, a research fellow at the Leibniz Centre for the Modern Orient.

In all three espionage cases, the efforts of Germany's BfV domestic intelligence agency are believed to have been crucial.

"Our security authorities… have massively strengthened their counter-espionage efforts," Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.

The arrests came hard on the heels of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's return from wide-ranging talks with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

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