World

Actions

Poland Orders Expulsion Of 45 Russians Suspected Of Spying

The 45 Russian were described as a danger to Poland’s security.
A man waves the Ukrainian and Polish flag in front of a building housing Russian diplomats in Warsaw, Poland.
Posted at 10:45 AM, Mar 23, 2022

Poland ordered the expulsion of 45 Russians who the government identified as intelligence officers using their diplomatic status as cover to operate in the country, officials said Wednesday.

Poland's Internal Security Agency said it has asked the Foreign Ministry to urgently remove the Russians, who were described as a danger to Poland's security, from the country.

"These are people who have and operate using their diplomatic status, but in reality conduct intelligence activities against Poland," said Stanislaw Zaryn, the state security spokesman.

Russian Ambassador Sergei Andreev, who was summoned to the Foreign Ministry but isn't one of the 45 being expelled, lashed out at the decision, and said those being kicked out of Poland "were carrying out normal diplomatic and trade activity."

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 neighbor 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 didn't give a specific reason for why the alleged spies were being expelled but suggested that they pose a especially grave threat at a time that 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."

Zaryn said the decision to expel them now was made "taking into account Russian aggression against Ukraine."

He said the agency's work also showed that the Russian services are increasingly on the offensive and "are acting aggressively against Poland."

Zaryn said in a separate statement that the security agency found that the activities of the 45 Russians have served "the objectives of the Russian undertakings designed to undermine the stability of Poland and its allies in the international arena and poses a threat to the interests and security of our country."

The Polish government spokesman said Russia's ambassador to Poland was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

The Polish state security service also said that it detained a Polish citizen on suspicion of espionage for the Russian secret services. The suspect, who was detained on March 17, worked in Warsaw's registry office and had access to city archives.

"Given the nature of documents kept by those units, the activity of the suspect posed a threat to both internal and external security of Poland," the agency said in a statement.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.