Polish security authorities have apprehended an additional suspect in the ongoing investigation into an alleged Russian spy ring. The individual, a Ukrainian national, was taken into custody last month and is accused of receiving money from Moscow in exchange for conducting surveillance on critical infrastructure in Poland. Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski announced the arrest on Monday, revealing that it had occurred on June 21.
The Ukrainian suspect was captured by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) and the Lublin branch of the organized crime department of the National Prosecutor’s Office. Minister Kaminski hailed the arrest as evidence of the security agencies’ effective protection of Poland. According to authorities, the suspect possessed Ukrainian citizenship and arrived in Poland in 2019. It is alleged that he had a particular interest in military facilities and seaports as potential targets for surveillance. The court in Lublin approved a three-month pre-trial detention for the individual, citing the risk of flight.
This recent arrest follows the capture of a Russian athlete in late June, who was also implicated in the espionage investigation. The 20-year-old ice hockey player, Maksim Sergeyev, was identified as target number 14 in the crackdown. Sergeyev had been playing for UKS Zaglebie Sosnowiec since October 2021 and, like the current suspect, was accused of conducting surveillance on Polish infrastructure. Under Polish law, spying for a foreign party carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
The Russian government has responded to Sergeyev’s arrest by asserting its embassy in Poland’s efforts to assist the athlete. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized the Polish authorities, describing them as having a “completely frenzied Russophobic position.” Russian officials have unequivocally labeled the case against Sergeyev as “totally fabricated.”
Meanwhile, the Polish government faces scrutiny from the European Union over a controversial law that allows individuals to be disqualified from holding public office based on a parliament-appointed committee’s assessment of their potential “Russian influence.” Critics argue that this legislation opens the door for a crackdown on political opposition under the guise of national security. In response to the concerns raised, President Andrzej Duda has pledged to make adjustments to the law.
As Poland continues to grapple with allegations of Russian espionage and the impact of its own legislation, the investigations and legal proceedings surrounding the spy ring will undoubtedly remain a topic of interest and concern for both domestic and international audiences.