MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) - Poland could deport Russian diplomats from the country as a result of the recent scandal alleging a lawyer and senior army officer of spying for Russia, Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Janusz Piechocinski said Friday.
"If all information surrounding the espionage is confirmed, Russian diplomats will be expelled from Poland," Piechocinski told Polish television channel TVN24.
"Most likely as a result, some of our diplomats will return to the country [Poland]," the deputy prime minister said, adding that the expulsion of diplomats is a routine operation.
The deportation of Russians from Poland has been proposed amid allegations of a Polish Army officer and lawyer of Russian-Polish citizenship to have acted as spies for Russian intelligence in Poland. According to the Polish television channel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has prepared a request for the expulsion of several Russian diplomats suspected of collaborating with those arrested for the espionage crimes. Polish Prime Minister, Ewa Kopacz, supported the decision and said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not exaggerated in its reaction proposing the deportation of Russians in the country suspected of collaborating with those arrested.
"It happens. It is sad that one of the Polish Army officers has ulterior motives to betray us," the deputy prime minister told TVN24.
On Wednesday, a high-ranking Polish Army officer and lawyer were detained on charges of spying for Russia. Prosecutors suspect the army officer of working with one of five Russian special forces, the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). On Friday, the Classified Military District Court in Warsaw will discuss the prosecution request to arrest the officer, in addition to a civil court hearing for the arrest of the lawyer also accused for espionage.
The Criminal Code of the Republic of Poland, Kodeks Karny, sentences those charged of spying one to 10 years in prison. In the event that the information obtained could harm the country, the minimum penalty is three years. In the case of organizing or directing activities of foreign intelligence, the penalty ranges from five to 25 years in prison.