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Wiretapping of German officers' conversation about TAURUS missiles: how it could affect aid to Ukraine

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Wiretapping of German officers' conversation about TAURUS missiles: how it could affect aid to Ukraine

russian propagandists have posted online a conversation between German officers who discussed the supply of TAURUS missiles to Ukraine and their possible use on the Crimean bridge. Find out exactly what German military officers were saying and how the Allies reacted to this leaked conversation

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For several days now, the world has been discussing the scandal that erupted over the leak of a conversation between German army officers about the prospects of Ukraine using German TAURUS missiles and possible strikes on the Crimean bridge. We will tell you what the Bundeswehr officers said and how this could affect assistance to Ukraine.


Details of the wiretapping of officers


On the morning of 1 March, russian propagandists distributed an audio recording of a conversation between high-ranking officers of the German Armed Forces. It is stated that the conversation was attended by the head of the German Air Force, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerharts, and two assistant officers.


In the conversation, the officers discussed the possible supply of German TAURUS missiles, if the German government decides to transfer them to Ukraine. They noted that the preparation time for the missiles would be up to 8 months. They also discussed training for the Ukrainian military, the targets that could be hit by the missiles, and the number of missiles that could be delivered to Kyiv.


Despite russia's accusations that the German military is discussing plans to "strike" the Crimean bridge, the conversation clearly shows that the officers are raising the issue of missile supplies to Ukraine and the possibility of their use.


The conversation also mentions a number of targets that Kyiv could decide to attack with Taurus, including ammunition depots and a "city in the east".


Interestingly, one of the interviewees talks about the continued presence of the British and US military in Ukraine to help manage the complex weapons systems.


How did you manage to intercept the conversation?


According to German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius, the leak was due to an "insecure connection" and the ministry's communication systems were not hacked. He noted that the leak was due to a private mistake. One of the interlocutors used the hotel's mobile network or Wi-Fi.


The Wall Street Journal, citing sources among high-ranking German officials, reported that the conversation posted online was a recording of an online meeting of German officers on the WebEx platform (similar to Zoom and Skype).


According to experts, this platform cannot boast of a high level of call encryption.


According to Western media, one of the participants in the leaked conversation was in Singapore and probably took part in it via a mobile phone.




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Why was the conversation posted online?


According to BBC Ukraine, intelligence agencies usually hide access to information that they have obtained illegally. However, in this case, the release of the conversation allows russia to destabilise the situation. The leak puts Berlin in an uncomfortable position and could contribute to a split in German society and among allies. 


In an interview with the BBC, former British Deputy Secretary of State for Defence Tobias Elwood said that serious discussions were needed in diplomatic circles between Germany and the UK, as well as NATO, over the leak.


And former British minister Ben Wallace, speaking to The Times, pointed to what he believes to be "strong" penetration of russian intelligence services in Germany, which is why he considers it "neither safe nor secure".


How could the situation affect aid to Ukraine?


The UK Ministry of Defence says that it believes the leak was unpleasant but not significant, partly because the conversation was not very specific and partly because it underlines how effective Taurus can be. 


Instead of publicly criticising Germany for the leak, Britain said that Berlin should investigate and then deliver the TAURUS missiles to Ukraine regardless.


According to experts, the assistance to Ukraine will continue, but the transfer of German missiles remains in question, as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly stated that these systems will not be transferred to Kyiv.


We remind you! Ukrainian intelligence has destroyed another russian Black Sea Fleet ship using drones. How the operation went and how many russian ships have been destroyed so far, we tell you here.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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