•   Wednesday, 24 Jul, 2024
No need to apologise for leaked call German ambassador to UK

No need to apologise for leaked call German ambassador to UK

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Miguel Berger told BBC Radio 4's Today programme one of the participants had likely dialled in via an insecure line.

As a result, Russia was able to intercept the call, he said.

In the audio, officials can be heard discussing details of alleged British operations on the ground in Ukraine.

Mr Berger hit back at criticism by former UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who said Germany was "pretty penetrated by Russian intelligence" and "neither secure nor reliable".

"It is extremely unhelpful what Ben Wallace has done," Mr Berger said.

"This is what Russia wants."

The publication of the call was a Russian "hybrid attack", he added.

Mr Berger also said German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius had called allies to explain Berlin's position over the leak.

He said preliminary results of an investigation by military intelligence showed that the leak was down to "an individual mistake by one of the officers".

The call had been intercepted because one of the participants had connected in an insecure way, he said.

"I think that is a good lesson for everybody: never use hotel internet if you want to do a secure call," Mr Berger advised listeners of the Today programme.

In the leaked recording, four senior German military officers are seemingly heard discussing the prospect of Ukraine using German-made Taurus cruise missiles to hit the Kerch Bridge, which links Russia to the Crimean peninsula, which was illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly ruled out sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine.

Mr Berger said Mr Scholz was being careful about how to increase support to Ukraine, so as not to cause "consequences we all don't want to see".

Germany were to provide Taurus missiles to Ukraine would create "potential for escalation", he said.

The missiles have a range of around 500km (300 miles) - enough to potentially hit Russian territory.

Ambassador Berger said allies' focus needed to be on supplying enough ammunition to Ukraine.

Kyiv has said it is losing ground to Russian forces in part because of diminishing ammunition supplies.

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