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Poland investigating pro-Kremlin propaganda network linked to Russian intelligence

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 28, 2024 5:29 PM 2 min read
Illustrative photo of Poland's Internal Security Agency (ABW) officers. (ABW/website)
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Poland is investigating a Russian propaganda network linked to Russian intelligence after Czechia uncovered the operations of a pro-Kremlin network that spread anti-Ukraine and anti-EU disinformation, the Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) announced on March 28.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced on March 27 that pro-Kremlin Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and pro-Kremlin propagandist Artem Marchevskyi had been sanctioned for seeking to influence discourse in Czechia through the Voice of Europe website, which was also placed on the sanctions list.

The network aimed to "implement the assumptions of the Kremlin's foreign policy, including weakening the position of Poland in the international arena, discrediting Ukraine, and the image of European Union bodies," the ABW said.

The operation in Poland was carried out in close coordination with Czechia and other international partners, the ABW said.

ABW agents conducted searches of homes and businesses in Warsaw and Tychy, a town in southern Poland, and seized 48,500 euros ($52,400) and $36,000, as well as computer data and mobile phones.

The ABW's work was connected to a previous investigation which revealed a Polish citizen was suspected of spying for the Russian secret services, the ABW said.

"The man, a member of the Polish and European parliaments, performed tasks commissioned and financed by Russian intelligence collaborators, which included, among others: propaganda, disinformation activities and political provocations."

According to the ABW, "their goal was to build Russian spheres of influence in Europe."

"Further procedural activities will continue in the following days," and interrogations had already been carried out, the ABW said.

News emerged in November 2023 that an investigation into a Russian spy network in Poland resulted in the arrests of 15 people.

Investigators believe that the network operated between January and March 2023 in multiple cities in Poland. The suspects are believed to have spied on transport routes of military aid to Ukraine and identified critical infrastructure, such as military facilities and ports, for the Russian security services.

WSJ: Russia’s spy network expands after full-scale invasion
Officials say that Putin’s decision to leave Russia’s borders open following the February invasion allowed FSB spies to join the thousands of Russians who fled the country to avoid mobilization.

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