A Bundeswehr officer was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in Düsseldorf as a Russian spy. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court found the confessed 54-year-old guilty on Monday of acting as a secret service agent. 

The 54-year-old made a confession at the Higher Regional Court. The federal prosecutor’s office had requested three and a half years’ imprisonment against him: the captain had “almost insistently pandered” to Russia in order to give the Russian armed forces an advantage. He revealed military-sensitive information. The 54-year-old joined the AfD around the same time.

Federal prosecutors criticized the captain for being guilty of a particularly serious case of acting as an agent for a state that had proven to be a ruthless aggressor. If the captain had betrayed not only official secrets but also state secrets, he would have even been threatened with life imprisonment. 

The defense attorney had said that in four days his client had reduced to rubble everything that he had previously built up over the years as a dutiful professional soldier: “Four days of betrayal in which he crossed red lines. Four days of complete failure.”

During a demanding professional period, his media consumption gradually shifted to Telegram and Tiktok. There he was exposed to fake news and quotes taken out of context. At times he was clearly removed from reality. He has since left the AfD again.

The captain had claimed that he was driven by fear of a nuclear escalation in the Ukraine war. “It’s the biggest mess I’ve made in my life,” he said. Depression caused by chronic overwork impaired his rational thinking. Officials from the Federal Criminal Police Office arrested the captain in Koblenz on August 9th. He has been in custody ever since.