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Polish citizen accused of spying for Russia in potential plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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(NEW YORK) — A Polish citizen was arrested for allegedly spying for the Russian government as part of a potential assassination attempt against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the top prosecutors in Poland and Ukraine said Thursday.

The Polish citizen, identified as Pawel K., was charged with readiness to act for foreign intelligence against the Republic of Poland, the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.

The suspect allegedly “proactively established contact” with Russian military command representatives and “informed them of his readiness to cooperate” with the Russian Federation’s foreign military intelligence agency, according to Andriy Kostin, the Ukrainian prosecutor general.

The suspect’s alleged tasks for the Russian government included collecting and providing the agency with information on the security of the Rzeszów-Jasionka Airport, an international airport in Jasionka in southeastern Poland, Polish and Ukrainian officials said.

“This was to help Russian special services plan a possible assassination attempt on the Ukrainian President during his presence in Poland,” Kostin said in a statement on X.

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine forwarded information about the suspect to their Polish counterpart and “key evidence” was obtained by Ukraine during the investigation, the Polish National Prosecutor’s Office said in the release. The suspect was detained on Wednesday and the investigation is ongoing, the office said.

If convicted, the suspect could face up to eight years in prison, the office said.

“This case underscores the persistent threat Russia poses not only to Ukraine and Ukrainians but to the entire free world,” Kostin said. “The Kremlin’s criminal regime is constantly trying to undermine European and global security. It organizes and carries out sabotage operations on the territory of other sovereign states.”

Zelenskyy last visited Poland in April 2023, receiving a massive welcome from its citizens and President Andrzej Duda. Poland lies on the western border of Ukraine and took in many refugees who fled from Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion.

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