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fault of a ‘distracted’ general

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fault of a ‘distracted’ general

A German general trusts a ‘normal’ connection and is intercepted by Russia. This explains the leak of information that allowed Moscow to disseminate 38 minutes of conversation between senior officers of the German armed forces, with references to the Taurus missiles – which Ukraine would like to receive -, to the Kerch bridge in Crimea as a potential target and to the presence of English soldiers in Ukrainian territory.

The interception which allowed a conversation between senior German officers to be disclosed on Russian social media is the result of an individual error, committed by one of the participants in the intercepted discussion and deriving in particular from the use of the Webex teleconferencing application – use permitted to certain security conditions – from Singapore. It is not a symptom of any compromise or poor security of systems in use in Germany nor is it the work of a spy, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said in Berlin.

Russia – he added, presenting the first results of an investigation into what happened – probably intercepted the call by chance, thanks to widespread surveillance. “Our communications systems were not compromised,” Pistorius said. “The reason the call was able to be recorded was an operational error made by an individual.” That specific participant called from Singapore, where an Air Show event was underway in the presence of senior European military officials, an event therefore a target of Russian security services operations.

“So we have to assume that access to this conference was a casual occurrence as part of a broad and widespread approach.” Pistorius announced “preliminary disciplinary investigations” against the personnel involved, spoke of “a serious mistake”, which “should not have occurred” but clarified that he had no intention of sacrificing one of his best officers, with reference to the Air Force inspector Ingo Gerhartz, who was involved in the Webex conference at ‘Putin’s games’, who “is playing a wicked game”.

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The damage to secrecy is “manageable”, the minister stressed. The allies’ trust in Germany is also intact. However, all technical and organizational measures will be taken to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.

Baerbock, peace signals to France

Berlin, at the same time, was keen to reiterate that there is deep friendship and solidarity between France and Germany. This was underlined in particular by the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, after the differences that emerged between the two countries on the possible sending of Western troops to Ukraine.

“Deep friendship and solidarity are not expressed by always agreeing. If you always agree, something is wrong,” he declared during a meeting in Sarajevo with his Bosnian counterpart Elmedin Konakovic. “Deep friendship is expressed above all by the fact that, even if we don’t get along, we remain united and nothing can intervene to divide.”

Baerbock left Sarajevo for Paris for a business meeting with her French counterpart, Stéphane Séjourné. The meeting followed the emergence of differences between the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, over the possible dispatch of European troops to Ukraine. Scholz recently defended the decision not to send soldiers to Ukraine, reacting to Macron’s statements that he did not rule out the deployment of Western ground troops on Ukrainian territory.

France and Germany, in particular, want to work together to ensure a better supply of ammunition to Ukraine, Sejourné and Baerbock said. “United and determined: together we are strong,” Baerbock wrote on X. “Our two countries are fully committed to Ukraine and working together to do more and better,” Sejourné posted.

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During the meeting, the two ministers talked about global efforts to supply ammunition to Ukraine, as well as countermeasures to Russian attempts to destabilize Moldova. Sources in the delegations reported positive talks on how Paris and Berlin can concretely help Ukraine. Meanwhile, Macron, visiting Prague, said he wanted to support the Czech initiative for the purchase of 800 thousand artillery ammunition for Kiev.

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