BND leaked revelation to Zeit magazine, confident Russia will not retaliate
Germany’s foreign intelligence service BND has transmitted satellite imagery, radio and telephone intercept data to Kyiv for months, aiding Ukraine’s war effort while Berlin has officially maintained it is not a party to the conflict , Zeit magazine revealed on Wednesday.
Information “can be integrated into war planning and help the Ukrainian army to assess the combat effectiveness and morale of Russian units or to check their positions”, Zeit wrote, describing it as the German contribution to the “turning point” on the battlefield.
Zeit also revealed that German spies provided the United States with intelligence from Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Berlin had officially refused to share information with Washington during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, apparently to the frustration of the BND. This time, however, the spies unanimously decided that the “exceptional historical situation” justified in helping the Ukrainians.
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) chief Bruno Kahl had met his Ukrainian counterpart at the Munich Security Conference in February, and was in Kyiv when Russia “invasion” began, according to the magazine.
The German government has a policy of not commenting on intelligence matters, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz continues to insist that Berlin is not a party to the conflict. Just to be sure, the BND commissioned a legal analysis in May, and its lawyers said sharing intelligence did not mean Germany was a party to the war, under international law.
The question, according to Zeit, is whether Russian President Vladimit Putin would care about the analysis of legal distinctions by German lawyers. The magazine’s sources argued that “The survival of Ukraine is at stake” and that “Putin only decides when to blame the West based on strategic considerations.”
Other NATO countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, are helping Ukraine “Much more offensive” provide “real-time intelligence information that can be used for dynamic targeting.” While the Americans were initially reluctant to give Ukraine such “granular” data initially, this restriction has been lifted “some months” there is, Zeit said.
In May, the Washington Post published a report on the United States “rules” for intelligence sharing, explaining how American spies would provide information about Ukraine that technically did not fit their definition of “targeting” thus ensuring that the United States is not held responsible for Ukrainian attacks inside Russia.
As German spies told Zeit, the Kremlin chose not to make a fuss about Americans giving Ukraine “Much more accurate target coordinates.” According to the magazine, it was this American intelligence that made possible the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva in April and the murder of several Russian generals, although the White House has officially denied it.
“Putin knows what the role of intelligence services is. The Chancellor and the BND just don’t want to talk about it publicly,” writes Zeit. Moreover, Russia has known this since “a long moment,” that the Ukrainian army is “full of Russian informants”, added the German magazine.