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WSJ: Germany Investigates Leak Of Recording About Supplying Ukraine With Moscow-Reaching Taurus Missiles

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WSJ: Germany Investigates Leak Of Recording About Supplying Ukraine With Moscow-Reaching Taurus Missiles
PHOTO: AFP

What else did the general and high-ranking German officers talk about?

The German MoD confirmed the fact of wiretapping of high-ranking German officers who used the unprotected WebEx platform to discuss military assistance to Ukraine. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, writes The Wall Street Journal.

In a conversation with Russian intelligence, the general and several officers of the German Air Force discuss the possible supply of Taurus long-range missiles with a range of 500 km and capable of reaching Moscow. They also say that the military of Great Britain, France and the United States are already in Ukraine, helping to use Western weapons. The mentioned states, except for the first, deny this.

Officials familiar with the investigation said WebEx — a commercial unencrypted online conferencing platform — is widely used by Germany's military and other secret agencies. "This incident should be a wake-up call," the source said.

At the moment, it is being investigated why the military used an unprotected means of communication, taking into account the subject of discussion. Moreover, one of the officers connected to the conversation through his mobile phone from a hotel room in Singapore. The investigation has not yet identified any other wiretapping incidents.

The day before, Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan published a 38-minute audio recording of a conversation between German servicemen, saying that she received it from "comrades in uniform." It was alleged that Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, inspector of the German Air Force, Frank Graefe, the head of the Operations and Exercises Department of the Air Force Command, Stefan Fenske, an employee of the Air Operations Center of the Bundeswehr Space Command, and an employee of the same department named Frostedte, participated in the intercepted conversation.

On the audio recording, Gerhartz ordered a presentation for the Minister of Defence on the organization of deliveries of the Taurus missiles to Ukraine and how Kyiv can use them for attacks on ammunition depots and on the Crimean Bridge. According to German officers, it will take "not 10 or even 20 such missiles" to destroy the latter, since due to its size the bridge is "like a take-off strip".

“There's no real reason to say we can't do this — it just depends on the political red lines,” Gerhartz says.

It follows from the discussion that the leadership of the Bundeswehr allows the transfer of 100 Taurus missiles to Ukraine. The Ukrainian forces need six hours to launch a missile after receiving intelligence about a new target if the fighters are properly trained and have access to all the necessary information. According to the German military, the training of Ukrainian operators will take from two weeks to four months, depending on the complexity of the task they will face.

At the same time, the main concern of the participants of the conversation is the question of how to designate targets for strikes and how to avoid the direct participation of the German military in this process. According to Gerhartz, the Americans there could help the Ukrainians in handling the Taurus missiles.

The German Defence Ministry can’t yet speak about the possible changes that had been made to the audio recording and the decrypted version, which appeared on social media. According to the initial assessment of experts, fake conversations using artificial intelligence are “ruled out in general,” writes Der Spiegel.

The leak was very serious and will be investigated “very thoroughly, very intensively and very quickly,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. According to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the goals of the leak could be to prevent the supply of the Taurus missiles to Ukraine.

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