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Polish investigation into Russian spy network results in 15 arrests

by Elsa Court November 22, 2023 2:27 PM 2 min read
MIM-104 Patriot short-range anti-aircraft missile systems for defense against aircraft, cruise missiles, and medium-range tactical ballistic missiles photographed on July 24, 2022, at Rzeszow Airport, Poland. (Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Poland has completed its investigation into the operation of a Russian spy network and detained 15 people, Polish media outlet RMF24 reported on Nov. 22.

In total, 16 foreign nationals are suspected of participating in an organized criminal group and acting against Polish interests for foreign intelligence. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison.

The National Prosecutor's Office decided to place 15 suspects in pretrial detention "due to the need to secure the proper course of the proceedings" and the risk that the accused could escape.

The suspects are all foreign nationals from "beyond our eastern border," RMF24 said.

Investigators believe that the network operated between January and March 2023 in cities near the border with Ukraine, such as Chelm, Rzeszow, and Przemysl, as well as in Warsaw and other parts of Poland.

The network also operated in Biala Podlaska, a city near the border with Belarus, and Medyka, a village that lies next to a key border crossing with Ukraine.

The National Prosecutor's Office believes they were paid by Russian security services in exchange for identifying critical infrastructure, such as military facilities and ports, and installing web cameras on the transport routes of military aid to Ukraine.

News emerged that Poland had broken up a spy ring in March 2023.

The interior minister at the time, Mariusz Kaminski, confirmed on March 16 that Warsaw had discovered a Russian espionage network, detaining nine foreigners who were allegedly preparing sabotage acts and monitoring rail routes to Ukraine.

More people were arrested over the summer, including a Russian hockey player in June and a Belarusian citizen in August.

According to RMF24, the investigation has concluded that the spies were operating independently and were unaware of other members of the network.

Latvia jails former official for pro-Russia spying
A Riga City Court sentenced Janis Adamsons, Latvia’s former Interior Minister, and a Russian accomplice, to jail for spying on behalf of the Russian Federation, Latvia’s public broadcaster LSM reported on Nov. 9.
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