Poland Tracks Down & Arrests Russian Spy Collecting Info For Putin

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Polish authorities have arrested a man who’d been in the country for 18 years and was allegedly conducting espionage work on behalf of Russia. Specifically, this individual — who was apparently taken into custody on April 6 — had reportedly been collecting information on troops in Poland, including those associated with the national military and NATO. U.S. personnel are among those stationed in Poland, and across the eastern edge of territory affiliated with NATO, there’s been a substantial troop build-up since Russia invaded Ukraine in February as global governments seek to shut down the possibility of further Russian aggression.

According to a statement from Poland’s spokesperson for the Minister Coordinator of Special Services, evidence “indicates that the man, instructed by the Russian special services, collected information concerning the military readiness of the Polish Armed Forces and of the NATO troops.” The detainee — who is apparently a Russian citizen — has been charged with espionage, which could seemingly come with a prison term of up to 10 years, as a previous Reuters report about allegations in Poland of Russian spying explained. That earlier report outlined the arrest in Poland of Spanish journalist Pablo Gonzalez, who’s apparently of Russian origin and was alleged to have also been participating in espionage operations on behalf of Russian authorities. Gonzalez’s apprehension took place not long after the presently unfolding war in Ukraine began, and Polish authorities alleged that he intended to enter Ukraine and conduct espionage work there as well. He was characterized as an agent of Russia’s military intelligence agency.

Polish officials have also detained two individuals suspected to have been involved in espionage work for the benefit of Belarusian authorities. Although Belarusians have joined the opposition to Russia’s violence in Ukraine through means including protests, sabotage operations targeting the ability of Russian troops to use their territory, and even a Belarusian battalion fighting in the Ukrainian military (which has welcomed foreign fighters throughout the war), Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is one of the few allies of Russia’s Vladimir Putin amid the current crisis. The pair of suspected Belarusian operatives detained in Poland “conducted… operations aimed at recognizing facilities of strategic and critical importance for the Poland’s defence,” according to that same Polish government spokesperson. Poland — which is a member of NATO — shares a lengthy border with Ukraine, and amid Russia’s violence against its neighbor, Poland has welcomed substantial numbers of Ukrainian refugees onto its territory. Among other steps, Poland also recently expelled 45 personnel associated with Russia’s diplomatic presence in the country — the targets of the expulsions were believed to be tied to Russian intelligence.