"The entire network was broken up," Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak told radio station PR1. "It was a spy group, a group of people gathering information for those who attacked Ukraine," Blaszczak added, referring to the Russian invasion of the neighboring country. He spoke of a "real threat" from the network.
"The suspects carried out espionage activities against Poland and prepared acts of sabotage on behalf of the Russian secret services," said Interior Minister Kaminski. These are foreigners from countries "beyond the eastern borders of Poland". Their aim was to identify, monitor and document "arms transports to Ukraine".
The suspects had also prepared sabotage actions "to paralyze the delivery of military equipment, weapons and relief supplies to Ukraine," said Kaminski. ABW agents confiscated electronic devices and GPS transmitters to be attached to aid convoys destined for Ukraine.
The private Polish radio station RMF FM reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources, that the group had installed dozens of cameras that recorded and transmitted data on train traffic. This happened especially near Jasionka Airport in south-eastern Poland. The airport is one of the most important hubs for Western arms and ammunition to Ukraine.
Interior Minister Kaminski said the group was also responsible for propaganda operations. These were intended to disrupt Polish-Ukrainian relations and create anti-Nato sentiment in Poland. According to him, the Polish services have evidence that the members of the group were regularly paid by Russian intelligence.
In recent months, Russian spies have been exposed in many places in Europe. At the end of 2022, a suspected German double agent was exposed. The employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is said to have betrayed state secrets to Russia. In mid-January, a Swedish court convicted a former secret service agent and his brother for passing sensitive information to the Russian military intelligence service GRU.