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Russian intelligence services have recruited a number of Ukrainian nationals in an effort to disrupt the flow of Western arms through Poland to Ukraine, the Washington Post reported on Aug. 18.
The Polish authorities believe that the foiled plot posed the most serious Russian threat to a NATO country since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, according to the Washington Post.
The plot was believed to be orchestrated by Russian military intelligence and carried out on the ground by Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
As of Aug. 18, at least 16 individuals were in Polish custody, including 12 Ukrainian refugees. Although this specific plot was thwarted, the Polish investigators said that the larger threat remained, and that the case had the potential to have political implications.
The Ukrainian refugees, who were mostly from the eastern part of the country, were first recruited by anonymous sources to do simple, low-level tasks, such as distributing propaganda material aimed at creating tension between Poles and Ukrainians.
After this litmus test of willingness, the tasks became increasingly serious, involving outright espionage of military sites and other places where Western weapons would be transmitted.
The scheme went on for months, but eventually the poorly trained recruits made simple mistakes and were caught by Poland’s domestic security service, the ABW. The whole plot soon unraveled, and it is unclear what, if any, demonstrable effect it had on disrupting arms shipments.