Edmonton Journal

Poland wants reporter barred

Authoritie­s call Russian writer a security risk


WARSAW, POLAND — Polish authoritie­s accused a Russian journalist working for a pro-Kremlin news agency of posing a threat to Poland’s security, saying Wednesday that he should lose his right to reside in Poland and the European Union.

The case comes amid tensions between the West and Russia over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. Poland is one of the most outspoken European voices in favour of sanctions against Russia, and ties between the Slavic neighbours have been particular­ly strained lately.

There are still more questions than answers at this point surroundin­g the case of Rossiya Segodnya agency journalist Leonid Sviridov. Polish authoritie­s have never specified what suspicions or evidence they might have, keeping all details of the case top secret.

Poland’s Internal Security Agency declared him a “danger to the Polish state” last year. The Foreign Ministry stripped him of his journalist’s accreditat­ion and the office of the governor of Mazovia, the province where Warsaw is based, opened an investigat­ion.

The governor, Jacek Kozlowski, said Wednesday that after months of investigat­ion he agreed with the security agency’s assessment that Sviridov is a threat to Poland and should be stripped of his right to remain in the country.

Kozlowski said he cannot reveal those details for national security reasons, but that he has seen all the evidence against Sviridov and that it is “strong.”

Sviridov said he hasn’t been told what the suspicions are, but said he believes he is suspected of espionage. He insists, however, that he never engaged in espionage.

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