All news

Russia fully aware of NATO activity in Ukraine — Lavrov on leaked German military talk

"Our NATO colleagues have been absolutely caught red-handed," the top Russian diplomat noted

ANTALYA, March 1. /TASS/. A published conversation between German Bundeswehr officers is astonishing but Russia has been completely certain about NATO military activities in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

"You know, of course, on the one hand, it is astonishing, yet it is not on the other. I have already mentioned in my previous answers that we are completely certain of the participation of NATO servicemen, sometimes disguised as mercenaries, or otherwise as some people who do not belong to the armed forces of NATO countries," he said.

"Our NATO colleagues have been absolutely caught red-handed. I don’t know how they will explain this to their people," the top Russian diplomat added.

A transcript of the audio was posted by RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan on her page on the VK social network. In the conversation, the four senior officers, identified as Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) Brigadier General Frank Grafe, Air Force Command department head for operations and exercises; German Air Force Inspector Ingo Gerhartz; and two Space Command officers with the surnames Fenske and Frostedt, discussed instructions from German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius to work on the delivery of Taurus missiles to Ukraine. The military leaders said the weapons could be handed over in two tranches of 50 units each.

"The [Crimean] bridge in the east is hard to hit, as that’s quite a narrow target, but the Taurus can do that, and it can also hit ammo depots," Frostedt said. Gerhartz echoed the latter’s suggestion, saying that "there is an opinion that the Taurus will handle that (hit the Crimean Bridge - TASS) if the French Dassault Rafale fighter jet is used."

Earlier, Simonyan said that on the very day that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave assurances that NATO was not now and would not in the future be directly involved in the Ukraine conflict, Germany’s top brass was in fact mulling how to carry out a potential attack on the Crimean Bridge in a way that would have no repercussions for Berlin by giving it the cover of plausible deniability. Simonyan said she had a corroborating audio recording of the Bundeswehr officers’ conversation in her possession, but did not release it.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Kremlin was not yet aware of the contents of the leaked conversation. The issue will be reviewed at the next session of the Russian State Duma, or lower house of parliament, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said on his Telegram channel.