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US and Germany reportedly foiled Russian plot to assassinate Rheinmetall CEO – CNN citing anonymous sources 

The assassination plot is linked to the broader Russian strategy to target defense industry executives across Europe who are supporting Ukraine’s war effort.
Rheinmetall kuleba
Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba with Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger in Berlin, 3 November, 2023. Credit: Dmytro Kuleba via Twitter.
US and Germany reportedly foiled Russian plot to assassinate Rheinmetall CEO – CNN citing anonymous sources 

US intelligence uncovered a Russian government plan earlier this year to assassinate Armin Papperger, CEO of the German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, which has been supplying Ukraine with artillery shells and military vehicles, according to CNN citing five undisclosed US and Western officials familiar with the matter. Euromaidan Press has been unable to verify this information.

The assassination plot was part of a broader Russian strategy to target defense industry executives across Europe who are supporting Ukraine’s war effort. The plan to kill Papperger, a key figure in Germany’s defense sector, was the most developed among these schemes.

Upon learning of the plot, US officials alerted German authorities, enabling German security services to protect Papperger and thwart the assassination attempt. A high-level German government official confirmed the warning from the US.

For more than six months, Russia has been conducting a sabotage campaign across Europe, using local proxies to carry out arson attacks on warehouses linked to arms for Ukraine and other acts of vandalism. This campaign aims to disrupt the flow of Western weapons to Ukraine and diminish public support for Kyiv.

The intelligence indicating Russia’s willingness to assassinate private citizens highlighted the extreme measures Moscow is prepared to take in its covert war against the West. Papperger, as the CEO of Rheinmetall, was a significant target due to his company’s role in producing the crucial 155mm artillery shells and opening an armored vehicle plant in Ukraine, which deeply concerned Russia.

NATO officials have been increasingly vocal about the seriousness of Russia’s sabotage campaign. A senior NATO official emphasized the strategic consequences of Russia’s covert activities, including sabotage and assassination plots.

“We’re seeing sabotage, we’re seeing assassination plots, we’re seeing arson. We’re seeing things that have a cost in human lives,” the senior NATO official told CNN reporters. “I believe very much that we’re seeing a campaign of covert sabotage activities from Russia that have strategic consequences.”

The National Security Council (NSC) declined to comment on the specifics of the Russian plot and the US warning to Germany. However, NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson stated, “Russia’s intensifying campaign of subversion is something that we are taking extremely seriously and have been intently focused on over the past few months. The United States has been discussing this issue with our NATO Allies, and we are actively working together to expose and disrupt these activities.”

NATO officials, gathered in Washington for the alliance’s 75th anniversary summit, have been discussing ways to enhance intelligence sharing to better identify and connect seemingly isolated incidents of sabotage across member countries.

The plot to assassinate Papperger and other acts of sabotage have prompted increased security measures at US military bases in Europe. In April, two German-Russian nationals were arrested for allegedly planning bomb and arson attacks on US military facilities on behalf of Russia.

In March, several men in London were charged with collaborating with Russian intelligence to set fire to a Ukrainian-linked warehouse. Poland is investigating whether an arson attack that destroyed Warsaw’s largest mall in May was connected to Russia. In June, French authorities detained a Russian-Ukrainian man accused of building bombs as part of a Russian sabotage campaign.

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