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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Guards Ties To Poland


Russia voiced concern Thursday that spying charges which prompted Polish Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy to offer his resignation could have a destructive influence on bilateral relations at a time when they had shown signs of improving.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Krylov told Interfax that Russia was anxious to ensure that charges that Oleksy had spied for Moscow did not spoil ties, but he said he was worried that debate around the crisis could have a backlash.

"We have done a great deal to remove the difficulties which existed in our relations with Poland," he said, citing efforts at reconciliation over the Soviet massacre of Polish officers in Katyn forest in Russia during World War II.

"Under these conditions, a possible wave of debate around the 'Oleksy affair' could be destructive," he said.

Oleksy, a former communist, tendered his resignation Wednesday after military prosecutors announced a formal inquiry into security service allegations that he informed for Soviet and then Russian intelligence in the 1980s and early 1990s. But Thursday, it was unclear whether Oleksy had actually resigned.

Around noon local time, Poland's state-run PAP news agency quoted President Aleksander Kwasniewski as saying Oleksy had resigned.

Neither the prime minister's office nor the president's office would confirm or deny the report.

Four hours later, the news agency issued another dispatch quoting the parliament speaker as saying the president was "still awaiting" the resignation. The agency never recanted its earlier report.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Karpov, a spokesman for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, repeated in Moscow on Thursday that Oleksy "had absolutely no relations with Russian intelligence."

Karpov told Interfax the Oleksy case was "pure political provocation."

Oleksy, who became prime minister last year, also dismissed the spy charges as a provocation.

The Oleksy upheaval has also revived the deeply controversial issue of whether Poland's secret security service files should be opened to public gaze.

A senior presidential aide said Thursday that Kwasniewski planned to send to parliament a bill on opening files dating back to the pre-1989 communist era and on giving access to more recent ones in certain cases. ()