German spying: Two suspected spies arrested in Bavaria

Two alleged spies suspected of planning to sabotage German military aid for Ukraine have been arrested in the southern German state of Bavaria.

The two men, described as dual German-Russian nationals, were detained in Bayreuth on suspicion of spying for Russia, prosecutors say.

Dieter S, 39, is suspected of a string of spying offences.

They include plotting an explosion, arson and maintaining contact with Russian intelligence.

He is also accused of fighting for a Russian proxy armed force in occupied eastern Ukraine.

The second suspect, identified as Alexander J, is accused of helping him since last month to identify potential targets for attack. He was due to appear in court on Thursday.

Germany is the second largest donor of military aid to Ukraine after the US, earmarking some €28bn (£24bn) since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

According to prosecutors, the main suspect Dieter S is alleged to have discussed potential sabotage operations in Germany with his Russian contact since October last year, in an attempt to undermine its support for Ukraine.

They cite preparing explosive and arson attacks, especially on military and industrial infrastructure. Dieter S is said to have scouted potential targets including US military facilities, taking photos and videos and handing the information to the Russian contact.

German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann told German news agency DPA that the two arrests were “another significant investigative success” in the fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sabotage and spy networks.

Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, currently on an unannounced visit to Kyiv, said on Thursday that he was there “at a time when Ukraine needed all the support it can get in its fight for freedom”.

The government in Berlin is spearheading a plan to help bolster Ukraine’s air defences.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday that EU countries should try to help Ukraine with additional air defence systems, especially Patriot systems. Germany has already sent Ukraine two Patriot air defences and has promised a third.

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