The Ambassador of the Russian Federation was presented with a diplomatic note with information that three employees of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Warsaw were recognized as personae non gratae, the Ministry of Diplomacy informed “The basis for such a decision was the violation by the indicated persons of the conditions of diplomatic status and carrying out activities to the detriment of the Republic of Poland” – emphasized in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“On April 15, 2021, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Poland was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ambassador was handed a diplomatic note containing information that three employees of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Warsaw were recognized as personae non gratae. actions to the detriment of the Republic of Poland “- emphasized in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Poland fully expresses its solidarity with the decisions taken by the United States on April 15, 2021 regarding its policy towards Russia. Jointly agreed allied decisions are the most appropriate response to the hostile actions of the Russian Federation,” we read in a statement issued by the Ministry of Diplomacy on Thursday.
The US expels ten Russian diplomats. Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement
The White House announced on Thursday that US President Joe Biden had signed an executive order imposing additional sanctions on Russia over its interference in US elections and hacking attacks. These include Russian government bonds and the expulsion of ten diplomats.
The sanctions respond to a hacking attack on US government agencies last year, the Kremlin’s designation of awards for attacks on US soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere with the 2020 elections in the US. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that it was also a reaction to an attempted poisoning and the imprisonment of the anti-Kremlin oppositionist Alexei Navalny.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on cyber attacks. “Poland received with great concern the information provided by the US government on cyber attacks carried out by the Russian Federation with the use of Solar Winds Orion systems and software” – it was written.
“Our position on this is expressed in NATO statements.”
“The effects of these attacks reach beyond the USA and affect, among others, European countries. The constant increase in harmful activities in cyberspace threatens the security and stability of the functioning of not only individual entities or systems using digital technologies, but has a negative impact on societies, economies and governments of many countries” – we read in the announcement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured that Poland expresses solidarity with the USA. “Our position on this matter is expressed in NATO statements,” it was reported.
“We strongly advocate compliance by states, the private sector and individuals with the principles of responsible behavior in cyberspace. We consistently present this position on the forum of international organizations of the EU, NATO, OSCE, UN and others. Conducting or supporting harmful activities in cyberspace by states, their intentions as participants in international processes aimed at strengthening cyber security on a global scale are questioned, “reads the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Hacker attack and escalation of the conflict in Donbas
The sanctions package announced by the US on Thursday has been developed since the first days of the new administration assuming power in January. The White House regularly called for patience in this matter and assured that Russia would be held accountable for last year’s hacking attack, when many US government agencies were hacked through SolarWinds software, including the Department of the Treasury, Homeland Security, State Department and the Pentagon. Hackers gained access to the data of around 18,000 people.
On the other hand, in Donbas, where the ceasefire entered into force in July 2020, an escalation of the conflict is observed. Russia is increasing the number of troops on the border with Ukraine. A spokeswoman for the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, Julia Mendel announced on Monday that Russia has concentrated more than 40,000 soldiers on the eastern border with Ukraine and more than 40,000 soldiers in Crimea. Mendel added that Zelensky’s office had asked to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but had not yet received a reply.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine informed the BBC that Russia had already transferred 16 tactical battalion groups to the borders with Ukraine and to the annexed Crimea; The BBC estimates that it may be around 11,000-14,000 soldiers. The intelligence management says the process of concentration of Russian forces is expected to last until the end of April.
Proposal for a meeting in the “coming months”
On Tuesday, Joe Biden suggested in a telephone conversation to Vladimir Putin to lead, outside the US and Russia, to a bilateral summit at the highest level. The meeting of the heads of state would take place in “the coming months”. The goal, according to the White House communiqué, is “to cover the full range of problems facing the United States and Russia.”
In an interview with Putin, Biden stressed Washington’s support for “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” He also expressed concern about Russia’s increasing troop numbers in “occupied Crimea and Ukraine’s borders” and called on the Kremlin to “ease tensions”.
Main photo source: Paweł Supernak / PAP