“Poland expelled 45 Russian spies posing as diplomats,” said Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski. said Wednesday on Twitter. “With full consistency and determination, we are breaking up the agents from the Russian intelligence services in our country.”
Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for Poland’s security services, told The Post that the 45 included people known to work for Russia’s intelligence services, along with others who, while enjoying diplomatic status in Poland, helped the work of Russian intelligence services.
“Russian services are increasingly on the offensive,” Zaryn said at a news conference on Wednesday. “They are acting more and more aggressively against Poland.”
The movement provoked sharp criticism from Kremlin officials, who promised to respond.
Russia’s ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, told reporters after he was summoned to the Polish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday that Russia would not suspend formal diplomatic relations with Poland. But he said Moscow would retaliate with measures to expel Polish diplomats, according to Russia’s state-run news agency Tass.
He said the allegations against the diplomats were unfounded and that embassy staff had carried out normal diplomatic and commercial work.
The diplomats have a maximum of five days to leave Poland, Andreev said, adding: “They will have to leave. This is a sovereign decision on the part of Poland and they have the right to their own decision.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharvova said Russia would “respond appropriately” if its diplomats were expelled from Poland, according to state-owned news media RIA Novosti.
Separately, Polish security services announced that they had arrested a Polish citizen last Thursday, who was suspected of spying for Russia. The suspect worked at a registration office in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, and had access to sensitive documents, the Internal Security Agency said.
Biden’s visit to Poland was first added to the itinerary of his European trip within the last few days, reflecting the country’s position at the center of a growing refugee crisis. In Warsaw, he is expected to promise more American humanitarian aid, discuss the emergency with Polish leaders and potentially meet Ukrainians who have fled their homeland.
Tyler Pager and Ashley Parker contributed to this report.