Germany hits out at ex-UK defense secretary

Aprilia Rine

Germany hits out at ex-UK defense secretary

Ben Wallace has fallen into a “Russian trap” by criticizing a recent intel leak, according to Berlin’s envoy in London

German Ambassador to the UK Miguel Berger has accused former British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace of “falling into the Russian trap” by criticizing a recently leaked audio recording of senior German officers discussing a possible attack on the Crimean Bridge, Politico reported on Wednesday.

The leaked audio, released by RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan on Friday, is from a conversation between four German Air Force officers, including their commander, Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz. The officers discussed operational and targeting details for Taurus missiles that might be sent to Ukraine, including their possible use against the Crimean Bridge. They also talked about ways to maintain plausible deniability of German involvement in such an attack, to avoid sparking a wider conflict.

According to the Politico report, Wallace, who served as Britain’s defense secretary until last year, took aim at Germany for the leak, claiming the country is “pretty penetrated by Russian intelligence, so it just demonstrates they are neither secure nor reliable.” 

Ambassador Berger hit back, describing Wallace’s comments as “extremely unhelpful.”

“This is what Russia wants by publishing this phone conversation,” Berger said while speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday. “In the end, it was a very professional talk about the use of long-range missiles. But we have to be careful not to fall into the Russian trap of creating division, and regrettably, some people have fallen into this trap,” he cautioned.

Berger also reportedly told the BBC there is “no need” for the German government to apologize and that preliminary results from an investigation into the cause of the leak show that it was caused by an “individual mistake” by one of the officers.

READ MORE: Germany reveals how ‘Crimean Bridge attack’ call was leaked

The German Defense Ministry has confirmed the authenticity of the 38-minute recording. The leak created a scandal in Berlin, where Scholz called it a “very serious matter” and said it was being “intensively” investigated. German lawmakers demanded enhanced counterintelligence efforts and suggested that Russia’s government likely has more such recordings.

Meanwhile, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that the leaked conversation proves Germany is preparing for war with Moscow, adding that the military might even provoke a conflict against the wishes of the country’s civilian leadership.

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