Russian Spies Who Planned to Destroy Army Trains Convicted in Poland

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14 Russian spies including alleged ‘Ukrainian refugees’ have been sentenced in Poland over a plot to spy on and sabotage infrastructure carrying weapons and aid to Ukraine including an airport, railway, and sea port.

Poland has dismantled a Russian spy ring which the court found received instructions from its handlers in Russia through an encrypted messaging app and was paid on a per-job basis by cryptocurrency transfer. National newspaper Rzeczpospolita reports from the Lublin court that payments ranged from $5 for posting a propaganda leaflet, to $400 for installing a surveillance camera, and up to $10,000 for derailing a train.

Other tasks are reported to have included setting fires in Poland and subjecting targeted individuals with “beatings”. Prosecutor Piotr Łopatyński told Onet of the sophistication of the ring: “We were dealing with a modern, previously unknown way of running and organizing a spy network, not only in Poland, but also in the entire European Union”>

The sentences for espionage handed to those found guilty ranged from six months for ‘Artem’ to 13 months for Belarussian student ‘Maria’. Among those convicted were Ukrainian ‘refugees’ who travelled to Europe after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, two Belarussian students, and a Russian hockey player playing for a Polish team.

The court heard how the cell planned to sabotage military equipment and aid travelling from the European Union to embattled Ukraine, much of which travels through Poland. At least six “very high resolution wireless” battery-powered cameras were installed which, the paper states, were used to “constantly” monitor the naval base in Gdynia, Jasionka International Airport, and the railway at Rzeszów, intending to plant GPS trackers on equipment.

Ultimately the cell intended to derail trains transporting military equipment, echoing tactics already seen widely within Ukraine and Russia itself in recent months, as both sides in the stalled conflict attempt to inflict damage on their opponent’s supply lines. Rzeszów is one of the main hubs in Europe for the shipment of aid to Ukraine by rail.

While apparently archaic, the over-century-old method of rapidly moving armies and military materiel by rail remains crucial in the Ukraine war, with both sides receiving equipment by train. Rail is so important to the Russian war effort, as it overcomes Russia’s poor road network, the Kremlin even has a fleet of armoured trains to protect the rails from Ukrainian saboteurs.


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