Poland’s special services asked the foreign ministry on Wednesday (23 March) to expel 45 Russian diplomats, some of whom it suspects of working for Russian intelligence under the cover of diplomatic assignments, an allegation Russia has denied.
“The Internal Security Agency has identified 45 people – officers of Russian secret services and persons associated with them who had diplomatic status in Poland,” Special Services Spokesman Stanislaw Zaryn told journalists.
“The list was forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes officers of the special services of the Russian Federation and people cooperating with them… people who conducted intelligence activities against Poland, but also against our allies.”
The Russian ambassador to Warsaw was summoned to the foreign ministry. After the meeting, the ambassador said that there is no basis for the accusations made against the officials.
“They will have to go. This is a sovereign decision by the Polish side and they have the right to their own decision,” Ambassador Sergey Andreev told journalists outside the foreign ministry.
Russia also has the right to take further steps, Andreev added, without going into detail about what those steps might be.
Last Friday Bulgaria has expelled 10 Russian diplomats while Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania have banished another 10 between them, their foreign ministries said, citing non-diplomatic activities and the spreading of Russian military propaganda.