Poland expels 45 Russian diplomats for espionage, official says

Ukrainians living in Krakow protest against Russia's invasion, on March 17, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

WARSAW (REUTERS) - Poland's special services asked the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday (March 23) to expel 45 Russian diplomats, some of whom it suspects of working for Russian intelligence under the cover of diplomatic assignments, spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn said.

"The Internal Security Agency has identified 45 people - officers of Russian secret services and persons associated with them who had diplomatic status in Poland," Mr Zaryn told journalists.

"The list was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes officers of the special services of the Russian Federation and people cooperating with them... people who conducted intelligence activities against Poland, but also against our allies."

Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski on Wednesday said the EU member had "expelled 45 Russian spies pretending to be diplomats". 

"We are dismantling the Russian special services network in our country," Mr Kaminski wrote on Twitter.

The Russian ambassador to Warsaw was summoned to the foreign ministry. After the meeting, the ambassador said that there is no basis for the accusations made against the officials.

"They will have to go. This is a sovereign decision by the Polish side and they have the right to their own decision," Ambassador Sergey Andreev told journalists outside the foreign ministry.  

Russia also has the right to take further steps, he added, without going into detail about what those steps might be.

Russia would retaliate if its diplomats are expelled from Poland, the RIA news agency cited the Foreign Ministry as saying on Wednesday.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.