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A Russian hockey player has been arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying for Russia

A Russian hockey player has been arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying for Russia

On Friday, the Russian government announced the arrest of a Russian ice hockey player suspected of spying for Russia, in Poland, where he played in the national championship, which sparked a “strong protest” from Moscow.

The government added in a statement, without specifying his name, that “the detainee is a professional athlete from a first-rate hockey club.” He has resided in Poland since 2021.

And the government press release adds: “On the territory of Poland, he carried out foreign intelligence missions, in particular the identification of sensitive infrastructure in several counties (administrative districts, editor’s note)”.

The same source said that the Russian national was arrested on June 11 in the Silesian Voivodeship in southern Poland, without giving details of the hockey team he played with.

According to the National Prosecutor’s Office, this is the 14th person to be arrested as part of an investigation into a “spy network collaborating with Russian special services”.

Moscow expressed its “strong protest” at these arrests. “We demand an immediate and full explanation to Russia,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russian foreign affairs, said.

The Russian embassy in Poland said it had “sent a note to the Polish Foreign Ministry asking (…) to inform it of the charges against” the arrested hockey player.

She regretted that “to date, the Russian embassy and consular offices in Poland have not received any official information from the relevant Polish authorities on this matter.”

According to a statement from the Polish prosecutor’s office, the 14 arrested Russians “carried out intelligence and propaganda activities against Poland.”

The Polish government asserted that one of the groups’ missions was to “monitor railway routes” and to spread “propaganda against NATO, Poland and the policy of the Polish government”.

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Asked about the issue on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov lamented the “extremely difficult work” of the Russian diplomatic mission in Warsaw, “due to the Russophobic attitude” of the Polish authorities.