Poland dismantles Russian spy ring

Polish counterintelligence has dismantled a Russian spy ring that was collecting information about deliveries of military equipment to Ukraine through the EU member, Poland’s interior minister said on Thursday.

“The ABW counterintelligence agency has arrested nine people suspected of working for the Russian secret service,” Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski told reporters.

“The suspects had been carrying out espionage activities against Poland and preparing acts of sabotage on behalf of the Russian intelligence services,” it added.

Kaminski said they were “foreigners from across the eastern border of Poland.”

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak had previously said: “The entire network has been dismantled,” adding that “the threat was real.”

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Six of the suspects have been provisionally charged with espionage and participation in an organized criminal group. The other three were still being questioned.

Kaminski said the group’s tasks had been “reconnaissance, surveillance and documentation of arms shipments to Ukraine.”

“The suspects had also been preparing acts of sabotage aimed at halting the delivery of military equipment, weapons and aid to Ukraine,” it added.

ABW agents seized electronic equipment as well as GPS transmitters that were to be installed on trains carrying aid to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the private Polish radio station RMF, citing unnamed sources, was the first to report on the alleged operation of the spy ring.

It said the suspects were arrested after the discovery of hidden cameras on major highways and railway junctions, which record and transmit data on traffic.

According to RMF, “dozens of devices” of this type have been installed, mainly on stretches of railway going to the southeast, including near an airport that is one of the main transfer points for Western weapons and ammunition bound for Ukraine.

Authorities are now on high alert and security on railways and strategic infrastructure has been tightened, according to RMF.

Kaminski also said that the group had been tasked with carrying out propaganda activities to destabilize Polish-Ukrainian relations, as well as foment anti-NATO sentiment in Poland.

He said Poland has evidence that members of the group received regular payments from Russia’s secret services.

Related: Microsoft: 17 European nations targeted by Russia in 2023 as spying increases

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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