Poland’s Internal Security Agency announced Wednesday that it will deport 45 Russian diplomats accused of serving as spies.
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The suspects were identified as “Russian special services officers and individuals affiliated with them” with diplomatic status in Poland. According to the statement, “agency chief Krzysztof Waclawek has requested that the Foreign Ministry label them persona non grata.”
According to the ISA, “it gathered proof of the suspects’ clandestine actions. One of them is connected to a Polish national arrested on March 17 on accusations of Russian espionage.”
“The list was given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; it contains officers of the Russian Federation’s secret services and others who assisted them… individuals who conducted intelligence operations against Poland, as well as our partners.”
According to a Polish government official, the Russian ambassador to Warsaw has been summoned to the foreign ministry, and additional action will be announced following the meeting.
Russia would react if its diplomats are expelled from Poland, the RIA news agency said on Wednesday, citing the foreign ministry.
“I had no idea we were capable of this,” a Polish student told the New York Times of the developments. “Nobody anticipated we could be mobilized in this manner.”
These same developments have enraged a Kremlin that has few supporters in its stated attempt to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, whose president is Jewish and whose family perished in the Holocaust. On the contrary, states that have rebelled against Russian dominance see little incentive to assist an operation that may turn against them in the future.
After all, Putin has made it abundantly apparent that he believes Russia must reassert its status as a regional superpower. He released a 5,000-word piece last year titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” in which he depicted Ukraine as a fictitious entity created by its long relationship with Russia. He might conceivably use the same revisionist logic to justify conquering other ex-Soviet bloc Slavic republics — such as Poland — even at the risk of sparking a wider European conflict.