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German prosecutors raid home of pro-Kremlin activists


BERLIN (Reuters) – German prosecutors said on Monday they searched the home of two pro-Kremlin activists under suspicion that they violated a law that regulates the production and transfer of war weapons.

The activists – Max Schlund and his romantic partner Elena Kolbasnikova – have organised multiple rallies protesting Germany’s support of Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year.

Reuters reported in January that Schlund and Kolbasnikova donated funds collected from supporters in Germany to a Russian army division fighting in Ukraine, and the money was used to purchase walkie-talkie radios, headphones and telephones.

German prosecutors searched the couple’s home in March as they looked for evidence to corroborate Reuters’ reporting.

Ulf Willuhn, a representative of the Cologne public prosecutors, confirmed on Monday the raid was conducted over suspicions of a violation of the War Weapons Control Act, but denied it was connected to their aid for Donbas in eastern Ukraine. Willuhn declined to comment further on the investigation.

Germany’s war weapons law regulates the production, sale and transfer of weapons ranging from hand grenades and automatic rifles to combat aircraft.

One of Kolbasnikova and Schlund’s supporters wrote in a Telegram chat on Monday that the police “smashed” into the couple’s apartment and injured Schlund during their search. Willuhn said he was not aware of Schlund’s injuries and could not comment.

Schlund and Kolbasnikova could not be immediately reached for comment. Kolbasnikova has previously said that the German authorities were “committing lawlessness” to try to silence political opponents.

Markus Beisicht, the couple’s lawyer who has been involved in the pair’s past rallies, told Reuters the apartment was damaged during the search on Monday and said Schlund was left with small bruises and wounds after the raid.

(Reporting by Mari Saito in Berlin and Maria Tsvetkova in New York; Editing by Conor Humphries)

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