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Biweekly Rundown

German Spy Scandal 

A German military officer has been charged with spying this week, after supposedly offering classified information to Russian officials at the Russian consulate and embassy in Bonn and Berlin last year.  As Ukraine's largest provider of military hardware, Germany is a major target for Russian spy operations. This trial comes after a phone call among high commanding German officials was intercepted earlier this month by Russian intelligence officers, exposing potential plans to send Taurus missiles to Kyiv (which could reach as far as Moscow), to aid Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion. German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has so far rejected these plans to send Taurus missiles to Kyiv, for fears it could escalate the conflict. However, this reassurance from Scholz might be too little, too late, as the Kremlin claims this call ‘clearly demonstrates’ collective European war preparations against Russia. 

This intercepted phone call also has implications for Germany’s allies, the UK and France, as officials discussed how British and French missiles are already stationed in Ukraine, with British forces being currently deployed on the ground, to manage the programming of these missiles. 


Gaza on the brink of famine 

The World Bank estimates around 1.1 million people are at risk of famine in Gaza if crucial humanitarian aid continues to be restricted. This crisis is exacerbated by the continued destruction of vital infrastructure by Israel’s ground offensive on Gaza. The report finds that whilst half of the population are at risk of famine and dying of starvation, the other half also face severe food shortages and acute malnutrition. UN Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrel, and Oxfam have both accused Israel of using starvation as a weapon of war and calls to allow for unfettered land access for humanitarian aid, continue to be made. 

Amid the ongoing conflict, global calls for states to stop sending military aid to Israel are starting to gain traction. Canada has become the latest country to halt arms sales to Israel, joining the Netherlands, Japan, Spain and Belgium. Many more countries have vowed to follow suit, by ceasing to purchase Israeli arms. Despite this growing notion, the US remains as Israel’s largest military donor, contributing $3.8 billion per year, with a further $14 billion military aid package awaiting approval in congress.  


Parkinson Protest 

The Parkinson building's two-week occupation ended last Thursday. The occupation, organised by student groups, Leeds Socialist Worker Student Society, Student Rebellion Leeds and University of Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group, called on the university to ban war criminals from its campus, create a safe space for people to protest, cut ties with arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, and condemn the genocide by Israel. This movement has encouraged other student protests across the UK, with Bristol, Goldsmiths, UCL and Nottingham all staging their own occupations in support of Palestine. 

The occupation was the longest student occupation on Leeds campus in living memory, which ended last Thursday after achieving their goals. In a comment by the Leeds Socialist Workers Student Society, they stated “Throughout the two weeks we held the building we achieved many things. We converted the space into a democratic place used for education and debate, with many workshops being held on topics such as antisemitism and islamophobia, but also exploring the relation between issues like Palestine and the climate crisis. We also achieved a meeting with the University Executive Group to discuss our demands. This shows how our occupation was effective, but also how others can get involved as the meeting is not the end of the movement.” They encourage anyone who would like to get involved with their mission to visit their Instagram page, @swssleeds, for updates on weekly walkouts and other events. 

Words by Daisy Pope (she/her)

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