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Increase in Russian and Chinese espionage, turns into a problem in Germany

2024-04-24 08:39:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Increase in Russian and Chinese espionage, turns into a problem in Germany

Work has increased in the press office of the German Attorney General these days. "Detention due to suspected espionage activity," the April 23 announcement states. There is also a press release with the same title the day before. In both cases the four suspects, three men and one woman, spied for China. In the news of April 18, it is about two men who, on the orders of Russia, have planned strikes against military targets in Germany. In the announcement of the General Prosecutor's Office, it is stated that "the bans were made due to agent activity and membership in foreign terrorist organizations "People's Republic of Donetsk".

These announcements caused worried reactions in Germany. Green MP Konstantin von Notz is alarmed. "We must finally understand that this is a very serious and real risk to our security", said von Notz, also the head of the parliamentary committee for information services. Even the president of the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection, BfV, Thomas Haldenwang makes it clear to DW. "We had started the investigations. And since the state of the data was clear, we could in this case hand it over to the police and the prosecutor's office."

China's Global Goals According to German Constitutional Protection

For the head of the internal information service, this current development is not surprising. This German authority in a 2023 report makes it clear: "China's ambitious global goals will be followed by a general tendency for more power to shape the claim to leadership and by intensifying other espionage and exercise activities. of influence by state actors." Haldenwang also spoke about this at a symposium on Constitutional Defense in Berlin. "Until 2049, China wants to be the number 1 political, economic and military power in the world. It pursues this goal continuously, with legal and illegal means."

Chinese students and researchers at German universities are taken as an example. "These people are obliged to provide information to the state," says Haldenwang. Yes, this is also seen in the economy. Every Joint Venture, every direct investment comes with extra managers and personnel from China, said the head of Constitutional Protection, seeing this as an open door for potential espionage.

The spy in the antechamber of the AfD politician?

A recently arrested agent can also be seen in this scenario. The problem is that he was an employee of Maximilian Krah, the main candidate of the AfD for the European elections 2024. The AfD - which at the federal level in Germany is considered by the Constitutional Protection as suspected of right-wing extremism, has close ties in Russia as well.

Moscow's espionage activities, unlike China's, focus on short-term targets. According to Haldewang, this is related to the attack in violation of international law against Ukraine. "Before a severe war with extraordinary use of violence by Russia it would be careless not to think that the skills and will of its secret services would not be put into action in Europe.

In search of pro-Russians

According to the president of the Constitutional Defense, Russian espionage activities are expected to increase in Germany. The Russian regime has also focused on those people in Germany who have a Russian migration background. "So far the community has been very reserved," Haldewang points out. But there are special cases of great sympathy for Putin in these circles. "In this sense, one can see here a possible potential of people who would then be willing to act for Russia."

The German Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, after the arrest of six suspected spies makes a positive balance. "Our security authorities, led by the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection, have massively strengthened espionage protection. Thus we are protecting ourselves against the hybrid threats of the Russian regime but also against espionage from China. The current successes of the investigations show this."/ DW

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