NewsRussia's shadow war: NATO faces unprecedented sabotage campaign

Russia's shadow war: NATO faces unprecedented sabotage campaign

Fire at the hall at 44 Marywilska Street in Warsaw. CNN writes about Russian sabotage.
Fire at the hall at 44 Marywilska Street in Warsaw. CNN writes about Russian sabotage.
Images source: © PAP | Leszek Szymański

3:18 PM EDT, July 10, 2024

Russia conducts "bold" sabotage against NATO member states - emphasizes CNN. For example, the American television station cites the fire at the hall on Marywilska Street in Warsaw. There has been an "unprecedented escalation" of hybrid warfare in the last six months.

A high-ranking NATO official admitted in a conversation with CNN that for the past six months the Kremlin has been conducting a "bold" operation against Alliance countries. This involves setting fire to warehouses where weapons for Ukraine are stored or installing surveillance systems aimed at recording the training of Ukrainian troops. This list also includes vandalism of official cars and an unsuccessful bomb attack.

According to CNN, Russian services hire amateurs for an increasing number of tasks, such as arson. In case the perpetrator is caught, the Kremlin can deny any connections with the detainee.

- Russia is trying to intimidate our allies - an anonymous NATO official assessed. The hybrid war conducted and intensified by Moscow is one of the points of discussion at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Washington.

Analysts characterize Russia's actions as a "shadow war." One element of it is, among other things, the fire at the hall on Marywilska Street in Warsaw, which occurred in early May. Approximately 1,400 spaces were located in the center, which was operated by Vietnamese stores. In total, six commercial buildings in the Shopping Center complex burned down.

- We are investigating the leads, they are quite likely, that the Russian services had something to do with the infamous fire on Marywilska and proceedings in this matter are ongoing – said Prime Minister Donald Tusk a week after the fire.

CNN presents the story of Maksym L., a 24-year-old Ukrainian who carried out sabotage in Poland on the orders of Russian agents. Maksym told CNN that for 7 dollars, he painted anti-war graffiti all over Poland. His handler was a Russian named "Andrzej," who contacted him via Telegram in February 2023.

Maksym explained to the American station that he fled Ukraine to escape poverty and hopelessness. He said, "it was easy money," which he "very much needed."

- This country never did anything for me - Maksym said about Ukraine. And he added that being born in a particular country is not enough reason to go to war. He said that he is neither pro-Russian nor pro-Ukrainian.

The graffiti was just the beginning. Next, the Ukrainians installed surveillance along railway tracks in Medyka, which delivered medical and military aid to Ukraine. Maksym didn't believe that such actions "could cause any harm." The Ukrainian also set fire to the fence of a Ukrainian transport company operating in eastern Poland.

Only later did Maksym realize that "Andrzej" was a Russian spy. Andrzej ordered him to install a camera in front of a military base where the Ukrainian army was being trained.

- It made me feel uneasy and I decided to leave - he said.

Maksym L. was arrested before he could leave. Polish services detained a total of 15 people. Maksym was sentenced to six years in prison for espionage. "This is the largest known Russian espionage operation in Poland in recent times," – CNN believes. The station adds that this "worries" Warsaw.

Espionage and Article 5 NATO

An anonymous NATO official whom CNN journalists spoke with assessed that the Russians are conducting a "dangerous game" across Europe. According to him, Moscow believes that such actions, for example, setting fire to a hall, cannot trigger Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which assumes that an attack on one member country of the Alliance is an attack on all NATO members.

Determining the boundary is a dangerous calculation - the official assessed.

CNN sources say that some Russian spies are coming to the West straight from war-torn Ukraine. They have more experience and can approach their tasks "brutally" just to achieve the expected results.

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