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German politicians have warned of the infiltration of democratic institutions and espionage by Russia through members of parliament from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
"For the AfD, the alternative for Germany is autocratic Russia," Green Party politician Konstantin von Notz said in Berlin on Tuesday.
"It is to be feared that the proximity of AfD MPs to dictatorships such as Russia, China, Syria and North Korea is not just ideological."
Members of parliament are authorized to deal with classified information even without security checks, said von Notz, who is deputy leader of the Greens parliamentary group and chairman of the Parliamentary Control Committee.
This applies not only to the Defence Committee, but also to other committees and bodies of the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, "also with regard to possible espionage activities."
Defence politician of the conservative opposition party CDU, Roderich Kiesewetter, said the AfD acts "in Germany as an extension of Russia" and as an instrument of hybrid warfare.
"It cannot be ruled out that members of parliament or their staff who have access to security-relevant information are also passing on such information."
There are also indications that the Russian embassy is disseminating AfD content. "Possible espionage cannot be ruled out in this respect and can only be prevented or stopped by sensitizing and checking the intelligence services," said Kiesewetter.