In its recent publication, the German Spiegel Online magazine reported about an email that contained information about the suspected rape of a young girl by Bundeswehr soldiers in Lithuania. The magazine accused Russia of allegedly being behind the misinformation campaign aimed at discrediting German soldiers.
The author of the e-mail, who still remains unknown, wrote that several Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in the Rukla raped a 15-year-old girl from an orphan home located nearby.
Within a few hours, the Lithuanian police found out that the news was fake. However, the incident caused vivid reactions among German media, which accused Russia of initiating the fake news campaign, Sputnik Germany wrote.
Although there is still no evidence that would help to resolve the case, Spiegel Online journalist Matthias Gebauer wrote without much consideration that the Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Lithuania were “targeted by a concerted disinformation campaign, which was apparently controlled by Russia.”
According to Gebauer, Moscow “has been trying to criminalize NATO presence and undermine Lithuania’s support for the placement of the troops.”
In response to a request from representatives of the Left Party, the Federal Government commented on the issue, saying that in “its opinion there was a professionally organized action to defame German soldiers and the NATO presence in Lithuania.”
However, the Federal Defense Ministry didn’t confirm the information published by Spiegel Online magazine. Answering the question of whether it could confirm the report, which was allegedly based on anonymous statements of the Ministry’s and Bundeswehr representatives, the Defense Ministry stated that “it can’t confirm the information.”
As it turned out, the article is solely based on a single email of unknown origin. This raises serious questions about the reliability of the German magazine, as well as concerns related to fake news.
What actually happened in Lithuania on February 15, remains unknown. The police investigation is underway.