Russian spy network planned to blow up trains in Poland says media report

A Russian espionage network operating in Poland, cracked by the National Prosecutor's Office and the Internal Security Agency (ABW), had planned to blow up trains carrying weapons and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the Gazeta Polska weekly has reported.

Between March and July this year, a total of 15 people were detained and charged with espionage for Russian military intelligence (GRU) the newspaper wrote on Wednesday. 

They are citizens of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, Gazeta Polska added.

According to the weekly, this is the largest Russian spy network that has ever operated in Poland. 

Gazeta Polska found that the 66 volumes of case files contain materials indicating that the suspects had planned to blow up trains transporting arms and humanitarian aid cargoes for Ukraine. 

On March 16, PAP reported that the ABW had arrested nine people on suspicion of cooperating with the Russian security services.

Mariusz Kaminski, the Polish interior minister and coordinator of Poland's intelligence services, said at the time that the group was preparing sabotage operations which could affect railway lines critical for the transport of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. He added that ABW agents had seized hidden cameras, electronic equipment and GPS transmitters which were to be installed on aid transports going to Ukraine.

"The first arrests were made at this time... because the risk of attacks was too great to continue to observe the group," a person familiar with the case told the weekly. 

"Members of the spy network were not only supposed to collect information, photograph military and civilian facilities, incite anti-Ukrainian and anti-Nato sentiments, but also to prepare acts of sabotage," Gazeta Polska wrote.

The newspaper's findings also show that the suspects received their tasks remotely from Moscow, and after their completion, they collected remuneration in cryptocurrencies (mainly bitcoins), which they then exchanged for cash. 

According to Gazeta Polska, the Russian spy network was established at the beginning of 2023, less than a year after the Russian attack on Ukraine. 

The suspects are facing up to 10 years in prison, the weekly said.

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