Former German soldier jailed for spying for Russia | Politics News

The Düsseldorf court sentences a former soldier to three and a half years in prison for sharing secret military information with Russia.

A former German soldier has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for sharing secret military information with Russia after the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

A Düsseldorf court found the defendant, identified only as Thomas H., guilty of having provided information on his own initiative from his position in the military procurement service.

In handing down the sentence Monday, the judges noted that Thomas had no criminal record on his record, had not materially benefited from helping Russia and was in poor health at the time he did so.

The 54-year-old had admitted to the crime during the trial, saying he hoped to obtain information in return that would help him get his family to safety in time if the conflict turned into a nuclear war.

The espionage case is one of several discovered in Germany since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Prosecutors accused Thomas of photographing old training documents related to munitions systems and aircraft technology and dropping the material through the mailbox of the Russian consulate in Bonn.

The defendant “approached the Russian consulate general in Bonn and the Russian embassy in Berlin and offered his cooperation” in May 2023, prosecutors said.

“He transmitted information that he had obtained in the course of his professional activities to be transmitted to a Russian intelligence service.”

‘Stupid idea’

Thomas admitted at the opening of his trial in April that the allegations against him were “broadly” accurate. “It was wrong. I stand by it,” he said.

He said his concern about a possible escalation in the war in Ukraine led him to reach out to the Russian side.

More precisely, he was concerned about the possibility that Berlin’s shipments of heavy weapons systems to Ukraine would drag Germany into the conflict.

Thomas also indicated that he had become dissatisfied with the government and perceived a lack of concern for the safety of German citizens.

He cited complaints about his health after many years of hard work for the military and long-term side effects from the coronavirus vaccine.

His various concerns led him into a “vicious cycle,” he said, adding that he could no longer justify his actions to himself.

Until his arrest in August 2023, Thomas had been a career soldier, working in the Army’s equipment, information technology and service support department.

The department, which has around 12,000 employees, has seen its workload increase substantially since the outbreak of the Ukraine war as the government carries out a sweeping overhaul of the military after years of neglect.

Germany has been on high alert for Russian spies against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and rising tensions between Moscow and the West.

In April, German authorities arrested two dual German-Russian nationals on suspicion that they were planning sabotage attacks on US military facilities in the country to undermine Western military support for Ukraine.

Russian authorities, for their part, have brought treason charges against dozens of people accused of helping Ukraine and the West since the invasion.

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