German Army Probes Possible Wiretap Of Ukraine War Talks

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The German defence ministry said Saturday it was checking whether a confidential videoconference on the Ukraine war had been wiretapped after a recording was posted on Russian social media, in a potentially huge embarrassment for Berlin.

The head of Russia’s state-backed RT channel, Margarita Simonyan, on Friday posted a 38-minute audio recording of what she claimed were German army officers discussing striking Crimea.

“We are investigating whether communications in the air force sector were intercepted,” a spokeswoman for the German defence ministry told AFP.

In the recording, discussions can be heard on the possible use by Ukrainian forces of German-made Taurus missiles and their potential impact.

Topics include aiming the missiles at targets such as a key bridge over the Kerch strait linking the Russian mainland to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The discussions also cover the use of missiles provided to Kyiv by France and Britain.

Experts consulted by Der Spiegel magazine said they believed the recording was authentic.

Kyiv has long been clamouring for Germany to provide it with Taurus missiles, which can reach targets up to 500 kilometres (about 300 miles) away.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has so far refused to send the missiles, fearing that it would lead to an escalation of the conflict.

“If this story turns out to be true, it would be a highly problematic event,” Green party politician Konstantin von Notz told the RND broadcaster.

“The question arises as to whether this is a one-off incident or a structural safety problem,” he added.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova demanded that Germany “promptly” provide explanations for the discussion.

“Attempts to avoid answering the questions will be regarded as an admission of guilt,” she said.

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