The 31-year-old was arrested by police in Hamburg, northern Germany, on suspicion of spreading pro-Russian propaganda, trying to recruit soldiers for foreign armies and planning to join Russian forces invading Ukraine.
The Hamburg public prosecutor’s office charged the man with various crimes, including possession of weapons, being a patron of a crime and conspiring to recruit for foreign forces.
German authorities consider the suspect to be one of the main managers of the Telegram social network channel “Das Anderes Deutschland” (The Other Germany), a pro-Russian site that bills itself as “National Bolshevik”.
On at least four occasions, the suspect used the “Z” symbol in contexts clearly associated with the war in Ukraine, thus supporting a crime under international law.
The “Z” is used as a symbol of support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The 31-year-old is pictured posing with a German assault weapon.
After searching his house, the police seized several knives and computer equipment, but found no weapons.
Police began questioning the suspect after being alerted by the Regional Office for the Protection of the Constitution, part of the secret services.
The suspect had links to the far-right world in Germany.
The military offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24 has already led to nearly 17 million people fleeing their homes — more than six million internally displaced people and more than ten million to neighboring countries — according to the latest UN data. The refugee crisis is the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).
According to the United Nations, about 16 million people in Ukraine are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Russian invasion — justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security — was generally condemned by the international community, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing economic sanctions on Russia. It affects almost all sectors from banking to energy and sports.