Poland expels ’45 Russian spies pretending to be diplomats’

Russian envoy to Poland confirms the expulsions, saying Warsaw gave the individuals five days to leave the country.

A general view of the Embassy of Russia in Warsaw
A general view of the Embassy of Russia in Warsaw [File: Pawel Supernak/EPA]

Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski has said the European Union member had “expelled 45 Russian spies pretending to be diplomats”.

“We are dismantling the Russian special services network in our country,” Kaminski wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Russian ambassador to Poland Sergey Andreyev confirmed the expulsions.

“There are no grounds for these kinds of accusations,” he said, adding that Russia reserved the right to take retaliatory measures.

Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said the Russians were being given five days to leave the country, with the exception of one particularly dangerous individual who must leave in 48 hours.

“Russia is our neighbour and will not disappear from the map of Europe, but the aggression against Ukraine proves that it is a hostile state, and even hostile to Poland,” Jasina said at a news briefing in Warsaw.

He did not give a specific reason for why the alleged spies were being expelled but suggested that they pose an especially grave threat at a time when Poland is accepting large numbers of refugees from Ukraine.

“The illegal activities of these diplomats can also pose a threat to those people who left their country to flee the war and found protection in our country,” he said.

Jasina also said: “Poland, in coordination with our allies, decided to significantly reduce the diplomatic staff of the Embassy of the Russian Federation.”

The list of spies

The announcement came hours after Poland’s counter-espionage service ABW identified the suspected spies and called on the foreign ministry to expel them.

ABW spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn told reporters on Wednesday that the list of suspects had been transferred to the foreign ministry.

“The Internal Security Agency has identified 45 people – officers of Russian secret services and persons associated with them who had diplomatic status in Poland,” Zaryn said.

“The list was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes officers of the special services of the Russian Federation and people cooperating with them … people who conducted intelligence activities against Poland, but also against our allies,” he said.

Zaryn also said the ABW “has detained a Polish national on suspicion of espionage for the Russian secret services”.

“The detainee worked in the archives of Warsaw’s registry office,” he said. “The activity of the suspect posed a threat to both (the) internal and external security of Poland.”

Source: News Agencies