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Polish Prime Minister Says 10 People Involved In 'Acts Of Sabotage' In Poland Arrested

11.06.2024 15:12

Premier Donald Tusk's government clamps down on security amid rising border tensions with Belarus.

Ten people involved in "acts of sabotage and subversion" in Poland have been arrested in recent weeks, said the nation's prime minister on Tuesday.

"We have reasons to believe that these are not the last events of this type," Donald Tusk told reporters in the Polish city of Bialystok.

"Today, there can be no other priority – for the central government, the EU, regional and local government authorities – than security," he said. "We're not talking about exercises or lessons in threat theory," he added.

Tusk warned that there may be more incidents posing a security threat and emphasized that Poland's influence in the EU in the areas of security, including energy, and nearby countries is more important noiw.

In May, Poland arrested nine members of an alleged Russian spy ring. "These are Ukrainian, Belarusian and Polish citizens," Tusk said, adding that some may have been recruited from criminal gangs.

The detained were accused of "beatings, arson and attempted arson," according to Tusk, who said alleged Russian plots against European countries concern not just Poland, but also Lithuania, Latvia, and possibly Sweden.

Tusk cited an attempt to set fire to a paint factory in Wroclaw, western Poland.

Earlier this month, Tusk announced the strengthening of the Polish intelligence services due to Moscow's destabilizing activities, announcing that Poland would allocate 100m zlotys ($25 million) to civil and military counter-espionage services.

Poland said in early June that it will spend over 3 billion zlotys ($760 million) to boost cybersecurity after state news agency PAP was hit by a likely Russian cyberattack.

Tusk said Monday that his government would change the law governing the appropriate use of firearms on the borders of EU member states after three Polish soldiers were arrested last week for allegedly shooting at migrants crossing the Belarus border.

Such situations, Tusk said, include "repulsing a direct, unlawful attack on the inviolability of the state border by a person forcing someone to cross the border" or "resisting a direct attack on the life, health or freedom of a soldier or another person."

Last week, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski demand that authorities in Belarus – a close Russian ally – establish the identity of a man who murdered a Polish soldier at the border, and hand him over to Polish law enforcement agencies. "It is completely unacceptable for a neighboring country to behave this way towards its neighbor. I promise you that Belarusian authorities will bear the consequences for this," he added.

Belarus has been widely accused of sending migrants over the border into Poland since 2021, aiming to destabilize the EU member. Polish authorities say it is an act of hybrid warfare. Critics accuse Poland of breaking international law by pushing people back over the border. Several clashes have taken place since late 2021 between Polish border authorities and migrants at the border. -

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