Poland expelled 45 Putin spies who ‘posed as diplomats’

The Russian embassy building in Warsaw, Poland (Reuters) (KACPER PEMPEL /)

Poland decided to expel “45 Russian spies posing as diplomats,” Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced on Wednesday, in a new blow to Vladimir Putin’s intelligence system.

“Consistently and decisively, we dismantled the network of Russian special services in our country”, said the Polish minister, on Twitter.

The Russian ambassador to Poland, Sergei Andreev, confirmed these expulsions to the press and said that people will leave the country within a maximum period of five days.

The official stated that the accusations of espionagepresented in diplomatic parlance as “activities not compatible with their diplomatic status”, had no “foundation” and announced that Russia reserved the right to take reciprocal measures. Relations between the two countries are maintained, the diplomat said. “The embassies remain, the ambassadors remain,” he reiterated.

The Polish authorities also reported on Wednesday the arrest in Warsaw of an employee of the Civil Registry of that city, accused of spying for Russia. The man, whose identity has not been released, “supplied news and information that could harm the Republic of Poland”, according to an official statement, and will remain in preventive detention for at least three months at the request of the prosecutor.

In an interview broadcast on Polish television on Wednesday, government spokesman Michal Dworczyk stated that “the activities of Russian spies are more and more intense” on Polish territory and added that “sometimes we do not realize how important for intelligence is apparently trivial information, such as that which is recorded in local institutions”.

“In the Registry Office there is a lot of information about people who changed their names after acquiring Polish citizenship or residence cards. And spies can use this,” Dworczyk said.

On March 1, the Russian ambassador to Poland referred to the “deterioration” of relations between the two countries and stated that “they have never been simple”, but that after the “hysteria” that according to him has been unleashed in Poland due to the invasion of Ukraine, have “made it even worse”.

Russian spies in Slovakia
Russian Ambassador to Slovakia Igor Bratchikov with President Zuzana Čaputová at her inauguration in 2020 (Dennik N)

Espionage diplomacy, a Russian weapon

It is not the first incident with Russian spies among diplomatic representatives. Putin’s networks around the world have been stretched for a long time. They present themselves as cultural or commercial attaches and weave contacts at all levels. However, the mission of each of them in the countries to which they are sent is only one: to collect information and infiltrate the highest levels of government.

Last Friday, the three Baltic countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, expelled ten diplomats in an apparently coordinated move to express solidarity with Ukraine, invaded by Russia on the 24th.

The similar wording of the three advertisements suggests that the expelled Russians worked for Moscow’s intelligence services and that these services were complicit in planning the invasion of Ukraine.

And days ago, the Slovak Foreign Ministry reported that the government decided expel three Russian diplomats accused of spying for Vladimir Putin’s regime and has given them 72 hours to leave the country. In addition, the security forces have arrested several people who worked for the Ministry of Defense and the Slovak Information Service (SIS) for their alleged involvement in the case.

Although their identities were not revealed, it is known that Among the detainees is an Army colonel, a member of the SIS, and a person related to the website Main News. As reported by the newspaper Dennik N, all of them had been bribed by a Russian diplomat. The Slovak government indicated that the diplomats in question have violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

(With information from AFP and EFE)


Putin and a lesson for China: the danger of a head of state for life

How Ukrainian refugees fleeing the invasion are received in Rome