Although their number is likely to increase: the ex-boss of the BND against the expulsion of Russian spies

Although their number is likely to increase
The ex-boss of the BND against the expulsion of Russian spies

The federal government expels 40 Russian diplomats whom it accuses of espionage. The former BND chairman is critical of this approach, even though the Kremlin is apparently expanding its secret service activities in Germany due to the war in Ukraine.

Former German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) Chairman Gerhard Schindler believes that Russia is stepping up espionage in Germany given its war of aggression in Ukraine. “In Germany, as in other European countries, there has been ongoing Russian espionage activity since the Cold War,” Schindler told the Germany Editorial Network Newspapers. An increase in Russian intelligence activities has been observed for some time.

“When military conflicts are combined with economic sanctions, it is obvious that intelligence activities will also increase,” Schindler explained. “We are certainly not at the end of this development.”

Serious statements about the number of Russian spies in Germany could not be made. Except for the Russians themselves, no one knows for sure. “The known spies in the federal and state Offices for the Protection of the Constitution are just the tip of the iceberg.” The federal government recently expelled 40 Russian diplomats from Germany, accusing them of spying. Several other EU countries had previously done the same.

However, Schindler is skeptical of the approach: “Each identified spy is a plus for the German security authorities.” You can observe this spy, understand its movement pattern and monitor who it communicates with. “If you send him home now and new ones come looking for him, you’re back to the beginning: you don’t know whether a new cultural attaché is also a spy or just a diplomat,” Schindler explained. It is therefore not an advantage for counterintelligence to expel identified intelligence agents. Nevertheless, it may sometimes be politically necessary to send out such signals.

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