The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany has observed an increasing interest from Russian secret services, amplified by the ongoing war in Ukraine. China and Iran are also reportedly expanding their intelligence activities within Germany, according to Thomas Haldenwang, the head of the office. He said, “Russia’s interest in Germany is not only unbroken, but also rising with the war’s continued effects.”
A suspected double agent was recently arrested, highlighting the reality of Russian espionage in Germany. The suspect, detained before Christmas by the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), allegedly leaked secret information to a Russian intelligence service. The details of this case remain confidential to avoid hindering the investigation.
In an attempt to counterbalance the expulsion of 40 agents, Moscow is expected to utilize more ‘traveling agents’ or alternative covers, Haldenwang noted. An instance of such tactics includes a suspected Russian spy in Norway who posed as a Brazilian researcher. Following Russia’s war initiation in Ukraine, many European countries expelled Russian agents and deemed members of the Russian embassy undesirable.
Haldenwang reassured that the domestic secret service is well prepared for the current challenges, mentioning a significant increase in staff and reorganization in the counterintelligence department. China and Iran’s increasing efforts in German political and economic espionage are being met with resistance and attention. The office continues to warn about potential Chinese spying and influence in the economy, public sector, and politics.