Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Moscow today accused Warsaw of striving to destroy relations between the two countries as it pledged to respond harshly to Poland’s expulsion of 45 Russian diplomats.
Poland announced on Wednesday it would be expelling diplomats suspected of working for Russia’s intelligence services. “We’re dismantling the Russian special services network in our country”, Poland’s Interior Minister, Mariusz Kaminsky, wrote on Twitter.
The Russian diplomats, 45 in all, were told they had five days to depart Poland, with the exception of “one particularly dangerous individual”, who was given a mere 48 hours to leave. Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina told a news briefing in Warsaw that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine “proves it is a hostile state, and even hostile to Poland.”
The Polish counter-intelligence service ABW, which identified the 45 diplomats as “officers of Russian secret services and persons associated with them”, also reported on Wednesday that it had detained a Polish national suspected of engaging in espionage on behalf of Russian intelligence.
In its response today, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the expulsion of its diplomats as a “conscious step towards the final destruction of bilateral relations”, and claimed that this was a goal Poland had been working to accomplish for a considerable time.
“Russia will not leave this hostile attack without a response, which will make Polish provocateurs think and will hurt them”, the Russian ministry declared in a statement.
Russia’s Ambassador to Poland, Sergey Andreev, indicated that Warsaw had taken the matter a step further by freezing the embassy’s bank accounts, having asserted that otherwise the accounts might be used for money laundering or to finance terrorism.