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Poland tightens security at key airport near Ukraine amid Russian sabotage threat

24.05.2024 12:00
Poland is ramping up security measures at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, a crucial hub for transporting arms and military equipment to Ukraine, following a series of arrests related to suspected Russian sabotage activities.
Border Guard officers at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport in the southeast of Poland.
Border Guard officers at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport in the southeast of Poland.Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, through which 90 percent of military supplies for Ukraine are routed, has become a focal point of concern due to its strategic importance.

The airport in the southeast of Poland also serves as a transit point for Western politicians traveling to Kyiv.

In an interview with the Bloomberg news agency, Polish Interior Minister Tomasz Siemoniak highlighted what he described as the unprecedented level of foreign interference in his country.

“We are facing a foreign state that is conducting hostile and—in military parlance—kinetic action on Polish territory,” Siemoniak told Bloomberg.

"There has never been anything like this before," he added.

The heightened security measures follow a spate of arrests of individuals suspected of plotting sabotage, including a man allegedly involved in an assassination plot against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

These suspects are believed to have connections to Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU.

Siemoniak said that such operations are typically executed by "one-time agents" recruited from criminal or hooligan circles, willing to undertake dangerous tasks for financial gain.

Tomasz Siemoniak, minister koordynator służb specjalnych. Tomasz Siemoniak. Photo: Przemysław Chmielewski/Polish Radio

Bloomberg reported that Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk recently announced the detention of 12 individuals on suspicion of attempted sabotage and diversion activities, including arson and assaults.

In one notable case, the National Public Prosecutor's Office detailed the detention of a man identified only as Paweł K., who allegedly volunteered to work for Russia’s GRU.

The suspect was charged with gathering information about the security at Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, which investigators say was intended to aid in planning an attack, including a potential assassination attempt, on Zelensky.

"We’re no longer talking about agents of influence or some online activities," Siemoniak said in the interview. "These are individuals who are ready to come and set things on fire."


Source: IAR, Bloomberg, kyivindependent.com