‘Thousands’ of Polish soldiers receive mysterious call from Russian number

Poland’s defence minister has asked the security services to investigate how hundreds, or even thousands, of soldiers and civilian employees of the army received harassing telephone calls from Russia.

The number of people who got mysterious calls from Russia has been reported to be as high as 10,000.

Tomasz Siemoniak, the defence minister, said the exact total had not yet been established, but it could “be hundreds or thousands”.

“The security services brought the matter to my attention and I have asked for clarification,” added Mr Siemoniak. “At the moment it is difficult to say as if this was something serious or not.”

Anything involving the armed forces and Russia can set alarm bells ringing in Poland. As the country spends more on defence and urges the EU and Nato to take a hard line against Moscow, Poland has become a key target for Russian espionage.

Last year, two people were arrested on suspicion of being part of a network of a dozen agents in Poland reporting to the GRU, Russian military intelligence.

The Polish press reported that the country’s military counter-intelligence service is investigating the mysterious phone calls. The mobile phones of the recipients usually rang briefly, with the screen showing a Russian number in a manner similar to a common scam whereby anybody who rings back is charged an extortionate rate.

The mass calling of phones recalls the blanket texting of participants in Ukraine’s Maidan revolution in 2014, when users of all three of the country’s main mobile networks simultaneously received identical SMS messages saying they had been “registered a participant in a mass disturbance.”

Full article: ‘Thousands’ of Polish soldiers receive mysterious call from Russian number (The Telegraph)

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