Germany charges army reserve officer with spying for Russia

Ralph G was allegedly passing information to Russian spy agencies between 2014 and 2020.

View of the building of the German federal prosecution in Karlsruhe
View of the headquarters of the German federal prosecution in Karlsruhe [File: Winfried Rothermel/AP]

An officer in the German army reserve has been charged with spying for allegedly passing information to Russian intelligence services between 2014 and 2020, according to federal prosecutors.

The man, referred to as Ralph G, is suspected of supplying information on the German military’s reserves, “civil defence”, the effect of sanctions levelled against Moscow in 2014, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Friday.

The accused had been “in contact with a Russian intelligence service through various people since October 2014 at the latest”, prosecutors said.

Until March 2020, the suspect is said to have passed these contacts “documents and information on numerous occasions”, relating both to the army reserve and business.

Alongside his role in the reserve, the suspect “belonged to several German business committees” thanks to his civilian profession.

He is also said to have shared the “personal data of high ranking members of the Bundeswehr [the German army]” and figures from the business world, “including contact details”.

“In return for his services, the accused received invitations to events organised by the Russian government agencies,” prosecutors said.

The trial is to take place at the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court. The accused is not in custody.

Previous cases

Ralph G is the latest in a string of suspected Russian spies uncovered on German soil.

Russian scientist Ilnur Nagaev is currently standing trial accused of spying for Moscow while working at a German university.

Nagaev, who was stopped by authorities last year, is accused of having shared information about Europe’s Ariane space rocket programme with Russia’s foreign intelligence service SVR.

In October 2021, a German man was handed a two-year suspended sentence for passing on floor plans of parliament buildings to Russian secret services while employed by a security company.

Last August, a former employee of the British embassy in Berlin was arrested on suspicion of having passed on documents to Russian intelligence.

Source: News Agencies