An investigation conducted by a journalist writing for the regional public broadcaster the German Südwestrundfunk (SWR) Southwest Broadcasting) found that Germany recently removed a soldier from the European Union’s Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia for his views supporting President Vladimir Putin and Russia in its war against Ukraine.
According to the investigation, the Center for International Peace Operations (ZIF) – which employs the German staff of the EUMM – failed to detect the views held by the soldier, Sergei E., despite him passing through the mandatory screening stage.
Per the investigation, ZIF and the German Foreign Office were first made aware of the man’s views in October 2022 – several weeks after he had arrived in the country – after which they took steps to terminate his deployment to Georgia.
Concerns were first raised when it was found that there was “incomplete and contradictory” information about the man, including social media posts on Facebook and the Russian Vkontakte, as well as other platforms, in which the soldier repeatedly sided with Russia in the context of the current war in Ukraine as well as past conflicts.
Notably, the man is also a member of the far-right and pro-Russian Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
MEP Viola von Cramon (The Greens/EFA, DE) tweeted in response to the findings, “Need to look more closely at who is sent from Germany to EU International Missions. Security criteria urgently need to be reviewed.”
“No person with the possibility that he also works for hostile services may be sent from Germany to sensitive missions,” she underscored.
The EUMM Office in Georgia confirmed the news to Civil.ge but had no further comment on the matter.
Significantly, Russia’s ongoing months-long bloody war in Ukraine has strongly resonated in Georgia, which has two regions – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia – currently occupied by Russia. Tbilisi lost control of Tskhinvali/S. Ossetia after the Russo-Georgian 2008 War, and of Abkhazia after the 1992-1993 Abkhazia War.