WARSAW (Reuters) - Authorities in Poland have arrested two men on suspicion of spying for Russia, a Polish lawmaker briefed on the issue said on Friday, a case likely to aggravate tensions between two countries already at odds over the Ukraine crisis.
Both suspects, an officer working for the Polish ministry of defense and a Warsaw-based lawyer, were detained by Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) on Wednesday.
Prosecutors have not revealed for what country the suspects are alleged to have been spying.
But following a briefing by the secret services which took place behind closed doors on Friday, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee said that Russia was involved.
“Actions are being taken in respect of two agents of the Russian state,” the lawmaker, Marek Biernacki told reporters.
“This was definitely a successful shot aimed at GRU,” Biernacki said, a reference to the Russian military’s Main Intelligence Directorate.
On Friday, a Warsaw military court ordered that the military officer, a lieutenant-colonel, be held in custody for three months pending trial. A civilian court also ruled that the lawyer should be held for three months.
A Reuters reporter inside the high-security court saw the lawyer, dressed in a suit and handcuffed, being escorted along a corridor after the hearing by three security agency officers wearing balaclavas. They put him in a blue van with tinted windows and no identification markings, and drove off.
Polish radio station Radio Zet reported the lawyer was a citizen of Russia as well as Poland, citing unnamed sources, but officials have not confirmed this.
Poland has been a vocal critic of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, calling for tougher sanctions on Moscow and an increased NATO military presence in eastern Europe as a counterbalance to Russia.
Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Marcin Goettig