Putin39s masterful espionage operation leaves Scholz out in the cold

Putin's masterful espionage operation leaves Scholz out in the cold – POLITICO

For Putin, still a spy at heart after decades at the helm of Russia, there is no greater joy than outsmarting Russia's opponents in the dark arts (particularly Germany, where he spent part of his KGB career running agents ). To be fair, Putin has received great support – albeit unwittingly – from Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Just days before the Russians released the recording, Scholz publicly ruled out sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine, saying it would result in Germany having to station soldiers in a war zone, which the Chancellor said would increase the risk would entail making Germany a Russian target.

“I'm surprised that some people aren't even touched by this, that they don't even think about whether what we're doing could lead to some kind of war involvement,” Scholz told reporters in Berlin on February 26. This suggested (much to their chagrin) that the United Kingdom and France, both of which are already supplying similar cruise missile systems to Ukraine, had personnel on the ground there.

“This is a very long-range weapon, and what the British and French are doing in terms of target control and support for target control cannot be done in Germany,” said Scholz. “Anyone who has looked at this system understands that.”

Everyone, it seems, except the high-ranking German Air Force leaders. In their wiretapped phone conversation, the generals not only discuss how the missiles could be delivered to Ukraine without deploying ground troops, but also express confusion about Scholz's position.

“Nobody really knows why the Chancellor is blocking,” General Gerhartz once said. He goes on to describe what he calls “wild rumors” about why Berlin isn't sending Taurus, including that the missiles aren't working properly, a claim he dismissed as “nonsense.” The general reveals that he heard the rumor from a reporter “who is extremely close to the Chancellor.”