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Poland: Police raid suspected Russian spy network

March 28, 2024

Raids have been carried out in Warsaw and the southern city of Tychy as part of an investigation into Russian espionage.

Archive photo of a Polish police officer in Warsaw
The Polish government is highly critical of RussiaImage: Kacper Pempel/REUTERS

Polish authorities said on Thursday that they had carried out searches in connection with a suspected Russian spy network in Poland, following intelligence provided by the Czech Republic.

"Actions aimed at organizing pro-Russian initiatives and media campaigns in EU countries have been documented," Poland's Internal Security Agency (ABW) said in a statement.

The operation was carried out with support and coordination from other European partners, especially the Czech Republic which said on Wednesday it had busted a Moscow-financed network.

What was the goal of the Russian spy network?

ABW spokesperson Jack Dobzynski said that the network's "goal was to implement the Kremlin's foreign policy objectives, including weakening Poland's position on the world stage, discrediting Ukraine as well as the image of EU organs."

He added that the security agency's operations began from an investigation that in January resulted in charges against a Polish citizen suspected of Russian espionage.

"The man, embedded in Polish and EU parliament circles, carried out tasks commissioned and financed by colleagues from Russian intelligence," he said.

According to the ABW, the man's tasks included "propaganda activity, disinformation as well as political provocation. Their objective was to build Russian spheres of influence in Europe."

Prague-based network reportedly funded German politicians

Following their own operations, Czech authorities added two pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politicians — Viktor Medvedchuk and Artem Marchevsky — to its sanctions list, as well as the Prague-based news website Voice of Europe.

The site was reportedly used to stoke opposition to the EU's funding of Ukraine in its war against Russia.

Czech daily newspaper Denik N reported that politicians from the EU had given the site statements in which they demanded the block cease its support for Ukraine.

Some were also paid with Russian funds which were then directed toward campaigning for the 2024 European parliamentary election.

Trial of alleged Russian mole begins in Berlin

The recipients included politicians from Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland, according to Denik N.

A spokesperson from the German Interior Ministry told AFP that "this case is another example of Russia's extensive and wide-ranging influence activities."

"The German security authorities will continue to use all available means and in cooperation with their foreign partners to investigate such influence operations and take measures to prevent them," she added.

ab/wd (Reuters, AFP)