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Germany investigates hack of Ukraine weapons aid discussion

FILE PHOTO: German flag patches on Bundeswehr uniforms

FILE PHOTO: German flag patches on Bundeswehr uniforms

imago images/Gerhard Leber via Reuters Connect

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ordered an inquiry Saturday after a hacked conversation about German military aid to Ukraine was published on Russian state-run media. In a 38-minute exchange on the WebEx platform, German Air Force officers discussed using Taurus missiles against targets in Crimea, including the Kerch Bridge to Russia – despite a recent Bundestag vote against supplying the weapons to Kiev.

Moscow is using the leak to portray Berlin as an aggressor. In a Telegram post, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of the Security Council, wrote, “Our age-old rivals – the Germans – have again turned into our sworn enemies.”

The military implications

The incident has been labeled a “catastrophe” for German intelligence due to its use of an insecure communications platform, and it has reignited debate about arming Ukraine with long-range weapons. Kiev has received SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles with a range of 250 kilometers, but the Taurus’ 500-kilometer range would allow deep strikes into Russian territory, prompting fears of escalation and retaliation.

Ukraine has been requesting the Taurus since May 2023, and President Volodymyr Zelensky recently told the Munich Security Conference that long-range weapons were urgently needed for his country to win the war. While Scholz had already indicated that Taurus was off the table, German officials say this latest incident was likely intended to cement that decision, to Kiev’s dismay.


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