Home News Europeans arrested for aiding Russia raise concerns about Kremlin’s power

Europeans arrested for aiding Russia raise concerns about Kremlin’s power

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Polish and German authorities have arrested at least five of their citizens in recent days and accused them of spying for Russia or actively helping Moscow commit violence on European soil, including a “possible attack” on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelens base.

The arrests underscore concerns about the Kremlin’s clandestine network in the West and its use of foreigners, including violent criminals and football hooligans, to intimidate and possibly kill opponents seeking refuge abroad.

A Polish citizen named Pawel K. was detained on Wednesday, the Polish State Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. He allegedly offered to assist Russian agents in a possible plot to kill Zelensky.

It didn’t reveal many details, saying only that he “announced his readiness to act for military intelligence of the Russian Federation and to establish contacts with citizens of the Russian Federation directly involved in the war in Ukraine.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Friday that police also arrested two Polish citizens. Attack Advanced Assistant Last month, he greeted Russian opposition activist Aleksei A. Navalny with a hammer outside the home of an aide in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. The Polish leader said a Belarusian citizen who allegedly ordered the attack on behalf of Moscow had also been arrested. Mr Navalny dies February in a Russian prison.

Tusk said in a statement on Friday that “there will be no leniency for those who cooperate with Russian services.” He vowed to stamp out “all attempts at betrayal and destabilization.”

Two Poles suspected of attacking Navalny aide Leonid Volkov on March 12 were detained in Warsaw on April 3, the Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement. One of the Belarusians was not mentioned in the statement.

The Polish State Prosecutor’s Office said the man, Pawel K., was tasked with “collecting and providing” information about the Rzeszów-Gasionka airport. Rzeszów-Gasionka Airport is an airport in Poland close to the Ukrainian border, and Zelenskiy often passes through the airport when traveling abroad.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov declined to comment on a possible plot to assassinate Zelensky in a call with reporters on Friday.

The airport is protected by Patriot missiles operated by U.S. military personnel and is a key shipping hub for Western weapons destined for Ukraine.

Ukrainian intelligence services said in a statement that they had provided information about those arrested to Polish authorities. The statement added that his plan was to collect information about the airport and transmit it to Russian military intelligence to “help Russian special forces plan a possible assassination of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his stay in Poland.” action”.

The arrests in Poland came as German authorities arrested Two dual German and Russian citizens are suspected of spying for Moscow and plotting to sabotage aid to Ukraine by blowing up Western military infrastructure.

The series of arrests comes as many European officials worry about the extent to which Moscow has infiltrated spies and assassins into EU countries and found a network of mercenary contacts among organized crime and extremist groups willing to carry out attacks. and acts of intimidation against the Kremlin’s enemies.

Tusk said the two Polish men who attacked Volkov with hammers belonged to an “extreme” circle, a term used to refer to avid football fans who are notorious for sometimes engaging in violence or being associated with extreme right-wing political causes.

Volkov posted on social media platform X on Friday, thanking Polish and Lithuanian authorities for their work on his case. Hammer,” he said.

The Insider, a Russia-focused investigative outlet, recently discovered that a man had threatened an outspoken anti-Kremlin Russian economist, a Polish citizen, and his wife in Buenos Aires. This information was shared with Polish authorities, who subsequently arrested him. explain in a report Friday.

During the course of the investigation, Polish authorities discovered that the man’s agent was also linked to the man who arrived in Lithuania last month to attack Volkov, Insider reported.

February kill An incident in a Spanish seaside town last summer, months after a Russian helicopter pilot’s high-profile defection to Ukraine, also raised fears of reprisals from the Kremlin’s enemies on European soil. The as-yet-unidentified perpetrator shot him six times in the parking lot before running over his body with his car.

Last year, British authorities arrested five Bulgarian citizens and charged them with conducting surveillance and information-gathering activities for Russian intelligence services. British authorities have charged a sixth Bulgarian national in connection with the February event.

Thomas Dapkus Contributed reporting from Vilnius, Lithuania Alina Lobzina From Berlin.

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