German police detains two suspects for alleged Russian espionage and sabotage plans

Police in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth have detained two men suspected of plotting sabotage operations in Germany on behalf of Russian intelligence services reports the German weekly Der Spiegel, citing sources within investigative circles, as well as broadcaster ARD. The detained individuals, both citizens of Germany of Russian origin, are believed to have spied on US military bases and planned attacks on transport routes used for military purposes.

The detention warrants were issued by Germany's Federal Prosecutor Jens Rommel, with operations conducted on the morning of 17 April, according to reports. Search warrants were carried out at the residences of the suspects.

The chief suspect is a 39-year-old man living in Bavaria, holding both German and Russian citizenship, identified as Dieter S. The Federal Prosecutor's Office has charged him with espionage on behalf of foreign intelligence services, sabotage, and taking photographs of military installations that posed a security threat.

According to investigators, since 2023, Dieter S. has been in communication with Russian intelligence services about potential sabotage operations in Germany, expressing willingness to commit arson or carry out explosions on military infrastructure, as well as on defense and industrial sites, primarily targeting military transport routes. Such attacks were aimed at disrupting Germany's support for Ukraine.

Moreover, Dieter S. had been observed studying and photographing US military sites in Germany, sending these images to his Russian handlers. The prosecution alleges that from March 2024, a second detained suspect in Bayreuth, 37-year-old Alexander J., aided Dieter S. in these activities.

Information from Der Spiegel indicates that the men were collecting information about US military bases at the Grafenwoehr training area, where Ukrainian servicemen are trained to operate Abrams tanks.

German intelligence services report that between 2014 and 2016, Dieter S. supported the pro-Russian separatist group in the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" (DPR). According to ARD, as a result, Germany's Federal Prosecutor's Office has charged him with membership in a foreign terrorist organization. "This is a first, as the Donetsk People's Republic is thereby classified as a terrorist group. The German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann has authorized the prosecution," the channel noted, emphasizing the significant symbolical weight of the move, which could carry diplomatic implications.

As Dieter S. reportedly had possession of firearms, he is also suspected of "preparing a violent act that poses a threat to the state."

ARD has stated that both suspects could face up to ten years in German prisons if convicted.

Following the detention of the two German citizens of Russian origin on charges of sabotage activity in favor of Russian intelligence services, the German Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador in Berlin, the ministry's press service reported on Thursday.

  Germany, Russia