Poland to boost intelligence spending due to Russian threat, says PM

By Thomson Reuters May 14, 2024 | 7:42 AM

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland will allocate an additional 100 million zlotys ($25.30 million) to boost its intelligence services, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday, as he warned of a rising threat from Russia.

Poland says its place as a distribution hub for supplies to Ukraine has made it a key target for Moscow’s intelligence services, fears that were exacerbated last week when a judge who had access to military secrets defected to Russian ally Belarus.

“I decided to allocate 100 million zlotys from my own reserve, the reserve of the prime minister, to strengthen the internal security and intelligence agencies,” Tusk told a news conference.

He said that Russian efforts to destabilise European countries, particularly Poland and the Baltic states, were set to intensify in the run-up to European elections in June.

“We will have to invest more resources, time, more actions when it comes to our special services,” he said.

However, he said that there was as yet nothing to indicate that a number of large fires in Poland in recent days were the work of external forces.

Nevertheless, he said that Polish services had prevented a number of sabotage attempts.

“In the last dozen or so weeks, also thanks to the support of our allies, Poland thwarted attempts to commit sabotage and arson,” he said.

Tusk added that Poland was likely to get EU funds to help strengthen its border with Belarus.

“At the moment, work in Europe on the method of obtaining funds, on European defence bonds, EIB (European Investment Bank) and the possible use of funds that will not be used from (COVID) national recovery plans are being completed,” he said.

“There should be no shortage of funds. Poland and the Polish border will be a priority.”

(Reporting by Alan Charlish, Pawel Florkiewicz, Barbara Erling; Editing by Nick Macfie)