Poland investigating Russian espionage, security agency says

WARSAW (Reuters) -Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) has carried out searches as part of an investigation with other European security services into alleged Russian espionage, it said on Thursday.

A hub for Western military supplies to Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion, Poland says it has become a major target of Russian spies. It accuses Moscow and its ally Belarus of trying to destabilise it.

“Actions aimed at organising pro-Russian initiatives and media campaigns in EU countries have been documented,” ABW said in a statement, mentioning the website voice-of-europe.eu that it says published pro-Russian material.

Searches were made in Warsaw and Tychy in western Poland on Tuesday, it said, without giving more specific details.

The operation was coordinated with other countries, in particular with partners from the Czech Republic, it said.

“We have uncovered a pro-Russian network that was developing an operation to spread Russian influence and undermine security across Europe,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala wrote on social media platform X.

“Therefore we added two individuals and one legal entity to the sanctions list. Domestic authorities subsequently seized their assets,” Fiala wrote.

Those sanctioned included pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk and voiceofeurope.com for leading what it said was a pro-Russian influence operation in Europe.

Fiala also said that the Czech Republic was at the beginning of the spy network busting operation including Thursday’s developments in Poland and that actions in other countries would follow.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday called reports of pro-Russian attempts to influence EU politicians worrying and said the Netherlands would “do what is necessary.”

“This shows how great the risk of foreign influence is,” Rutte told journalists in The Hague. “It’s a threat to our democracy, to our free elections, to our freedom of speech, to everything.”

ABW’s latest actions stemmed from an investigation completed in January in which a Polish citizen suspected of spying for Russian special services was indicted.

“The man, who was placed among Polish and European parliamentarians, performed tasks commissioned and financed by collaborators of Russian intelligence, which included propaganda, disinformation and political provocations,” it said.

(Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk and Karol Badohal in Warsaw and Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Mark Porter)


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