NATO country imposes movement restrictions on Russian diplomats

Poland will not allow consuls or ambassadors to leave the province of their posting

Russian diplomatic officers stationed in Poland will be restricted to the provinces in which they are posted, the government in Warsaw has announced, accusing Moscow of waging a “hybrid war.”

In addition to the embassy in Warsaw, Russia has consulates in Krakow, Gdansk and Poznan.

“I have just announced the Polish decision in connection with Russia’s participation in the hybrid war against the European Union and Poland,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Monday, after the EU ministerial meeting in Brussels.

“We have evidence of the involvement of the Russian state in authorizing sabotage, also in our country. We hope that the Russian Federation will treat this as a very serious warning signal,” Sikorski added. Russia has not yet responded to the move.

“This is a campaign across the EU,” Sikorski claimed on Monday. Warsaw has accused Moscow of plotting attacks on commercial facilities in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Sweden, though it has offered no evidence.

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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told TVN24 last Monday that nine individuals – nationals of Ukraine, Belarus and Poland – have been arrested on suspicion of plotting sabotage on behalf of Russia. Tusk said that the suspects have been accused of “beatings, arson and attempted arson” of a paint factory in Wroclaw and an Ikea in Lithuania.

Last month, British authorities made the first arrests and indictments under the new National Security Act, alleging that four men acted to set fire to two London warehouses – used by an Ukrainian package delivery company – as a way to “send a message” against helping Ukraine.

The new Polish government, which came to power in December, continued its predecessor’s policy of supporting Ukraine in the conflict with Russia.

Warsaw has previously seized the bank accounts and assets of the Russian embassy – in what Moscow has termed a flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations – as well as several properties belonging to the diplomatic mission. Moscow has threatened an “asymmetric response” but its warnings have fallen on deaf ears so far.

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