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Germany Leak of UK Military Tactics in Ukraine

The leak of a conversation revealing Britain’s activities on the ground in Ukraine is a security breach that is “worrying on a number of levels,” a prominent Conservative MP has said.

British soldiers are “on the ground” in Ukraine helping Kyiv’s forces fire long-range Storm Shadow missiles, according to the leak in Russian media of a top-secret call involving German air force officers, authenticated by Berlin. During the conversation, Lt Gen Ingo Gerhartz, the head of the German air force, describes how the UK and Ukraine work to deploy Storm Shadow missiles against targets behind Russian lines.

“When it comes to mission planning,” the German commander says, “I know how the English do it, they do it completely in reachback. They also have a few people on the ground, they do that, the French don’t.”

Berlin has launched an investigation. Germany’s defence minister Boris Pistorius has described the leak of the conversation as part of Russia’s “information war” against the West, and said it is about “undermining our resolve”. On Monday, the German government sought to contain the domestic fallout from the leak and promised a quick investigation into how it was possible that a conversation by top German military personnel could be intercepted and published.

Several German media have reported that the officers were in a meeting on the WebEx platform when they were taped. A spokesman for the German defence ministry told Germany’s Bild newspaper: “There are indications that an insufficiently secure means of communication was used in view of the content that was obviously discussed. This is, among other things, the subject of further investigations.”

“It is absolutely clear that such claims that this conversation would prove, that Germany is preparing a war against Russia, that this is absurdly infamous Russian propaganda,” a spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters in Berlin. Government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner said the leak was part of Russia’s “information war” against the West, and that the aim was to create discord within Germany.

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