This year, the Internal Security Agency (ABW) dismantled a spy network consisting of 16 members. They are amateurs managed by a Russian GRU officer. Sabotage, arson and assassinations were planned.
The Washington Post reported on the case of the Russian spy network in an article published on August 18. The investigation of American reporters and the information provided to them by the Internal Security Agency show that a group of amateur saboteurs recruited by a Moscow GRU officer operated in the country.
According to the information provided by the ABW, the network it worked out consisted of 16 people. All were civilians recruited via social media. Recruitment was to be carried out through online advertisements published on channels on the Telegram platform. The offers were to include performing simple odd jobs – including putting up posters.
Interested persons later learned that the materials were pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian. The Washington Post drew attention to the similarity of this recruitment strategy to the methods used by terrorist organizations, the so-called Islamic State.
Reporters from "The Washington Post" point out that among the members of the spy network, there were three Belarusians, a Russian and 12 Ukrainians. According to American reporters, the involvement of refugees from Ukraine in espionage tasks was supposed to be an intended action of the GRU, which was intended to arouse anti-Ukrainian sentiments in Poland.
In turn, those involved were to be motivated primarily by financial considerations, and not by ideological commitment. Among the members of the network were mostly young people in their twenties. The youngest of them was 16 years old.
The findings of the Internal Security Agency indicate that the main purpose of the spy network's activities was to disrupt support for Ukraine, primarily arms transports. Most of the equipment transferred to Ukraine by Western countries is delivered by rail from Poland. Therefore, the main purpose of the observations became tracks and train routes, where hidden cameras transmitting in real time were located. Members of the spy network were also to observe the port in Gdynia and the airport in Rzeszow.
In addition to espionage activities, the network organized by the GRU also planned to carry out sabotage, arson, and assassinations. It was information about the intention to derail the train carrying weapons to Ukraine that forced the ABW to detain members of the group.
The original plans were to monitor its activities and obtain more information about the group's principals. An anonymous ABW investigator, who spoke to The Washington Post, emphasized that other Russian spy networks are still active in Poland.