Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced on Wednesday that Poland would expel “45 Russian spies posing as diplomats”. “Tolerating this kind of illegal activity by Russian services in the future would pose a particular threat to Poland’s security,” a spokesman said.
Poland expels “45 Russian spies posing as diplomats,” Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced on Wednesday. “We are dismantling the network of Russian special services in our country,” he said on Twitter. This measure comes in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, underlined the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lukasz Jasina. “Russia has been waging a barbaric war against Ukraine for more than three weeks,” he said.
Polska wydala 45 rosyjskich szpiegów udających dyplomatów. Z pełną konsekwencją i determinacją rozbijamy agenturę rosyjskich służb specjalnych w naszym kraju.
— Mariusz Kaminski (@Kaminski_M_) March 23, 2022
Activities that threatened “the security of Poland”
“And we, and other Western countries, are being treated by Russia as its key adversary. Further tolerating this kind of illegal activity by Russian services would pose a particular threat to the security of Poland and that of our NATO and US allies. the European Union, with whom we coordinate all our activities of this kind,” added the spokesperson.
Russian Ambassador to Poland Sergei Andreev, questioned by journalists as he left the headquarters of the Polish Foreign Ministry, confirmed the expulsions, specifying that those concerned should leave Poland within a maximum of five days.
Expelled Russian diplomat must leave within 48 hours
Lukasz Jasina specified that an expelled diplomat will have to leave Poland within 48 hours, “his activities presenting a much greater danger for our country”. The Russian ambassador claimed that the accusations of espionage, presented in diplomatic language as “activities incompatible with the diplomatic status” of the persons targeted, were “baseless”, also mentioning “the general situation, the situation in Ukraine” among the reasons for the expulsions invoked by the Polish party.
He announced that Russia reserved the right to take retaliatory measures. Diplomatic relations between Warsaw and Moscow are not broken, added the diplomat: “the embassies remain, the ambassadors remain”.
Similar measures in the Baltic countries
The spokesman for Polish diplomacy indicated that the expulsions reduced the Russian diplomatic staff in Warsaw “by about half”. In addition, the spokesman for the Polish counterintelligence services ABW announced on Wednesday the indictment for spying on behalf of Russia of a Pole working in the archives of the Warsaw town hall.
The expulsions announced by Poland closely follow similar measures taken last Friday by the three Baltic countries and Bulgaria. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia declared a total of 10 Russian diplomats personæ non grata, “in solidarity with Ukraine”, while Bulgaria expelled the same number of members of the Russian embassy.