Russian and Syrian secret
services may be encouraging refugees in Germany to carry out
orchestrated sex attacks, in a bid to oust Angela
office, it is claimed.
extraordinary assertion was made by an expert from the European
Council on Foreign Relations, who said the foreign powers could
collude to destabiliseGermany ahead
of next year's election.
Gressel, a Russian expert at the think-tank, said small numbers
of refugees with links to the Kremlin and Syrian security services
could be mobilised to sway public opinion against the Chancellor.
of sex assaults were reported across Germany on New Year's Eve,
prompting an anti-migrant backlash
a series of sex assaults in the city of Cologne during New Year's Eve
celebrations at the start of 2016 he told Bild:
'What would happen, for example, if a similar event were repeated at
a summer festival before the election as in the Silvesternacht in
would Merkel stand then? What would be the consequence for the
Bundestag election? Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is
within the range of possibility.'
of sexual assaults and 29 rapes were reported across Germany, centred
mainly in Cologne.
year's attacks sparked an anti-migrant backlash, including this march
in January by far-right group Pegida
attacks provoked an anti-migrant backlash, and Gressel said similar
attacks could provoke Germans to turn on Merkel at next September's
is widely viewed as hostile to Russia, and this week recommended
extending EU sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine conflict.
month the Chancellor warned that Russia is already trying to
influence the German electoral process, stating: 'We are
already, even now, having to deal with information out of Russia or
with internet attacks that are of Russian origin or with news which
sows false information.'
government has been accused of trying to influence the result of next
September's election in Germany
said dealing with this is already a 'daily task', and added: 'So it
may be that this could also play a role during the election
Hans-Georg Massen, who heads Germany's domestic intelligence
service, said a Russian disinformation campaign was likely.
month he cited the high-profile case last year of a young Russian
woman from Berlin, who Russian media said was kidnapped and raped by
migrants, a claim later refuted by the German government.
told Reuters: 'This could happen again next year and we are alarmed.
have the impression that this is part of a hybrid threat that seeks
to influence public opinion and decision-making processes.'
is widely viewed as being hostile to Russia,
government has faced widespread allegations that it used hackers to
try and influence the US Presidential election this year, with leaks
of DNC files linked to Russian cyber groups.