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Poland to restrict movements of Russian diplomats, Moscow promises retaliation

by Abbey Fenbert May 28, 2024 4:43 AM 2 min read
Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski speaks to the media on Jan. 30, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Poland will impose restrictions on the movements of Russian diplomats in response to Moscow's "hybrid warfare," Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told journalists in Brussels on May 27.

In response, the Kremlin has pledged to take "retaliatory measures."

Relations between Russia and Poland have deteriorated severely since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, bringing war to Warsaw's border.

"I just announced a Polish decision in connection to Russia's participation in hybrid warfare against the European Union, including Poland: a restriction of movement for Russian diplomats in our country," Sikorski said after meeting with EU counterparts in Brussels.

According to Sikorski, Russian diplomats will only be allowed to travel within the province to which they are assigned. The restrictions will apply to all embassy and consulate personnel, with the exception of the ambassador.  

"These are national decisions, but we have evidence that the Russian state is involved in authorizing sabotage in our country as well. We hope that the Russian Federation will treat this as a very serious warning," Sikorski said.

Poland increases security at Ukraine aid export hub over sabotage concerns
Polish authorities are increasing security at the main transit hub for foreign military aid to Ukraine amidst increased threats of Russian-backed sabotage, Bloomberg reported on May 23.

At least 12 residents of Poland have been arrested in recent months for spying or planning to commit acts of sabotage within Polish territory on behalf of Russia. The Polish government in late May arrested nine members of a Russian spy ring in connection to alleged sabotage plots.

In response to Sikorski's announcement, Russia will seek "retaliatory measures" against Poland, Russian diplomatic spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

The Polish government is "overrun by Russophobia," Zakharova said.

Russia's Ambassador to Poland, Sergei Andreyev, said that Warsaw's decision was not officially communicated to the Russian embassy and that "no explanations have been given in this regard."

The New York Times reported on May 27 that Russia is ramping up sabotage operations across Europe in order to undermine military aid to Ukraine.

Polish FM says US will strike Russian troops in Ukraine if Russia uses nuclear weapons
“The Americans have told the Russians that if you explode a nuke, even if it doesn’t kill anybody, we will hit all your targets (positions) in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we’ll destroy all of them,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told the Guardian.
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