Poland charges 16 after dismantling Russian spy ring

Russian intelligence services organised the spy network to engage in sabotage and propaganda, claims Warsaw.

Poland's Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said each of the accused faces up to 10 years in prison [Kacper Pempel/Reuters]

Poland has charged a group of 16 foreigners with espionage after it shut down a Russian spy ring earlier this year.

The suspects, who are accused of undertaking sabotage and propaganda activities under the direction of Russian intelligence, have confessed to the charges, Warsaw said on Wednesday. The spy ring was dismantled earlier this year.

“Charges have been filed against 16 foreigners accused of conducting espionage activities on behalf of Russian intelligence services on Polish territory and participating in an organised criminal group,” the office of intelligence service coordinator Mariusz Kaminski said in a statement.

“Their assigned tasks included identifying military facilities and critical infrastructure, monitoring and documenting trains transporting military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and preparing for train derailments,” it added.

The sabotage and propaganda acts also aimed to turn Polish sentiment against neighbouring Ukraine, the statement said.

“Lublin prosecutors have just filed indictments against members of a dangerous spy network – the defendants, commissioned by Russian intelligence, conducted intelligence activities around seaports and military units, prepared acts of sabotage, and also undertook propaganda activities against Poland,” Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro posted on X. “They face 10 years in prison each.”

NATO member Poland is a major hub for Western weapons going to Ukraine in support of its fight against Russia’s invasion.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Poland’s conservative government has focused on strengthening the armed forces and has spent more than $16bn on tanks, missile interceptor systems and fighter jets, many bought from the United States and South Korea.

Source: News Agencies