Officials said Wednesday that Poland had ordered the expulsion from Russia of 45 Russians who were identified by the government as intelligence officers and using their diplomatic status to cover for operations in the country.
The Polish Internal Security Agency stated that it had asked the Foreign Ministry for urgent removal of the Russians from Poland, as they were deemed a threat to the country’s security.
Stanislaw Zaryn (state security spokesperson) stated that “these are people who…operate using their diplomatic status but in reality conduct intelligence actions against Poland.”
Sergei Andreev, Russian Ambassador to Russia was summoned by the Foreign Ministry. He was given a note informing him about the expulsion of 45 employees and Russia’s trade mission with Poland.
Andreev, who isn’t among the expelled, lashed at the decision and told reporters after the meeting, that the people being kicked out of Poland were “carrying out normal diplomatic, trade activity.” He stated that Russia has the right, on a reciprocal basis, to respond.
Lukasz Jasina, spokesperson for the Polish Foreign Ministry, stated that the Russians would be allowed to leave Poland in five days. The exception being one man considered particularly dangerous who will have to leave within 48 hours.
“Russia has waged a barbaric warfare against Ukraine for more than three weeks. Jasina stated that Russia and the West are considered key enemies.
“Further tolerating such illegal activity by Russian service would be a threat not only to Poland’s security but also to NATO and European Union allies with whom we coordinate all such actions.”
Although he didn’t provide any specific reasons for the expulsion of the alleged spy, he suggested that they were a particularly grave threat considering that Poland is currently accepting large numbers from Ukraine.
He said that illegal activities by these diplomats could also be a threat for those who fled their country in order to flee war, and find protection in our country.
Zaryn, a spokesperson for state security, stated that the expulsion decision was taken “taking into consideration Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
According to him, he didn’t know that Poland had ever expelled so many intelligence officers at one — a number which makes up roughly half of Russia’s diplomatic staff in Poland.
He stated that the work of the agency also revealed that Russian services are more aggressive and on the offensive against Poland.
Zaryn stated in separate statements that the security agency had found that the activities carried out by the 45 Russians served “the goals of the Russian undertakings intended to undermine the stability in Poland and its allies on the international stage and pose a threat the interests and security our country.”
According to the Polish state security agency, a Polish citizen was also detained on suspicion of spying for the Russian secret service. The suspect was arrested on March 17th. He worked at Warsaw’s registry office, and had access the city archives.
The agency stated in a statement that the suspect’s activity posed a threat both to the internal and external security of Poland due to the nature of documents they kept.
Zaryn said that the Russian suspect had been in contact, despite being given 48 hours to leave Poland.
A Spanish citizen of Russian heritage was also detained in Poland, just days after Russia invaded Ukraine. He is suspected of carrying out intelligence activities for Russia. He was taken into custody in Przemysl (a Polish border town that has seen hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees in the past weeks).
According to Poland’s security agencies, the man was an agent of the Russian military intelligence, GRU. He was also “profiting” from his journalist status, which allowed him to travel freely around the globe and Europe, including areas in conflict zones and territory marked with political tensions.