German reserve officer on trial over Russia spying charges

Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court

A reserve officer of the German Armed Forces went on trial on Thursday for allegedly passing sensitive information to the Russian foreign intelligence service GRU between 2014 and 2020.

The 65-year-old is on trial at the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court.

If convicted, he would face up to a decade in prison.

According to the indictment, the man from Erkrath near Dusseldorf betrayed information on the inner workings of the Bundeswehr’s reserve system and on civilian-military cooperation in crisis situations.

The information was said to concern the effects of the sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea and the Nord Stream II Baltic Sea pipeline.

The project was halted following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

According to the indictment, the documents and information came partly from public sources, but also from non-public sources.

As a motive, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office suspects sympathy for the Russian Federation.

They have not been able to establish any monetary payments.

The defendant had attracted attention because he had been invited to official events by Russian authorities.

He had already made a partial confession during the preliminary proceedings, a court spokeswoman said. (dpa/NAN)