Germany Arrests 2 for Allegedly Planning Sabotage Plot on Behalf of Russia

17 April 2024, Ukraine, Chernihiv: Rescuers are seen at a destroyed building following a missile attack by the Russian army. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
17 April 2024, Ukraine, Chernihiv: Rescuers are seen at a destroyed building following a missile attack by the Russian army. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
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Germany Arrests 2 for Allegedly Planning Sabotage Plot on Behalf of Russia

17 April 2024, Ukraine, Chernihiv: Rescuers are seen at a destroyed building following a missile attack by the Russian army. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa
17 April 2024, Ukraine, Chernihiv: Rescuers are seen at a destroyed building following a missile attack by the Russian army. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

Two German-Russian nationals have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of espionage, one of them accused of agreeing to carry out attacks on potential targets including US military facilities in hopes of sabotaging aid for Ukraine, prosecutors said Thursday.

The two men, identified only as Dieter S. and Alexander J. in line with German privacy rules, were arrested Wednesday in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth, federal prosecutors said.

They said Dieter S. had been discussing possible acts of sabotage in Germany with a person linked to Russian intelligence since October, and that the main aim was to undermine military support given by Germany to Ukraine. The suspect declared himself willing to carry out bombing and arson attacks on infrastructure used by the military and industrial sites in Germany, prosecutors said in a statement.

According to Spiegel magazine, the facilities included the Grafenwoehr army base in the southern state of Bavaria where Ukrainian soldiers receive training to use US Abrams tanks.

Dieter S. gathered information on potential targets, including US military facilities, they added. Alexander J. allegedly helped him to do so starting in March at the latest, while Dieter S. scouted out some of the sites, took photos and videos of military goods and passed the information to his intelligence contact.

A judge on Wednesday ordered Dieter S. kept in custody pending a possible indictment.

Dieter S. also faces separate accusations of belonging to an armed unit of pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine between December 2014 and September 2016.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.