Polish ABW Foils Russian Plans to Blow up Trains Carrying Aid to Ukraine
A Russian intelligence network operating in Poland, uncovered by the National Prosecutor's Office and the Internal Security Agency (ABW), planned to blow up trains carrying weapons and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
This was reported by Gazeta Polska.
This is the biggest success of the Internal Security Agency, headed by Colonel Krzysztof Wacławek. Together with the Lublin Office of the National Prosecutor's Office, this service eliminated the largest Russian intelligence network in history, which operated in Poland. A total of 15 people were detained between March and July this year on charges of spying for the Russian military intelligence service GRU. They face up to 10 years in prison. They are citizens of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The newspaper's findings show that they received remote tasks directly from Moscow, and then, after completing them, collected remuneration in cryptocurrencies (mainly bitcoin), which they then exchanged for cash.
The members of the spy network, commissioned by the Russians, were not only supposed to collect information, take photographs of certain military and civilian objects or incite anti-Ukrainian and anti-NATO sentiment, but also to prepare sabotage. The journalists found out that the 66-volume case file contains materials indicating, among other things, that it was planned to blow up echelons with weapons and humanitarian transport for Ukraine.
"That is why the first detentions took place on this day, not on another. The risk of attacks was too great to continue to monitor the group," explains a source familiar with the case file. The risk of attacks was too great to continue surveillance of the group.
According to Gazeta Polska's findings, the spy network was established earlier this year, less than a year after Russia's attack on Ukraine. It was led by an experienced GRU officer (exact identity has been established by ABW) based in Moscow. Everything was done remotely: recruitment, instruction, delivery of tasks, and then payment of salaries. Initially, the people selected by the GRU performed simple tasks, such as painting slogans on the walls that attacked the Polish authorities or fuelled anti-Ukrainian and anti-NATO sentiment. For each such task, the Russians paid the equivalent of several tens of dollars in cryptocurrency. This allowed them to disguise the source of funds.
After that, the tasks set by the GRU for the network members became increasingly complex, and the reward for their performance grew. The Russians used the built-up energy infrastructure to collect information and take photographs of these military facilities and seaports. However, the GRU was particularly keen to know the schedules and routes of trains carrying weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. For this purpose, the network members purchased the necessary equipment at the expense of Russian military intelligence, including cameras and GPS devices. Some of the equipment was installed in Podkarpacie, on routes leading to Ukraine and, in particular, to Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport. It was from there that the plane carrying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took off last December to meet Joe Biden, the President of the United States. Railways that transport weapons and equipment for Ukraine also pass through Subcarpathia.
According to the newspaper, the network members received the equivalent of several hundred US dollars for the photos they sent. They were supposed to be paid much more for more serious activities. According to the prosecutor's office and the Internal Security Agency, the main goal of the network was to attack railway transports with weapons and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The findings of the publication show that the actions to derail such trains were planned not only by damaging the tracks and control systems, but also by blowing them up with simple explosives.