The skyline of Warsaw in 2022 (Photo: Emptywords (CC)

“There are signs that Russian intelligence services are behind the fire in the Spłonęło shopping centre, although our investigation is still ongoing,” said Polish Prime Minster Donald Tusk at a press conference on 21 May 2024. The shopping centre was one of the biggest in the Polish capital and burned almost completely down on 13 May. Big plumes of smoke dominated the Warsaw skyline for many hours.

Featured photo: The skyline of Warsaw in 2022 (Photo: Emptywords (CC))

Although Tusk did not present any evidence, possible arson by Russian secret services would fit in a wider picture of sabotage incidents in e.g. NATO countries like the Czech Republic, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany for which Russia is held accountable. In the case of the shopping centre, it could have been something as simple as asking local criminals via e.g. Telegram to execute the dirty work. It would put the sabotage on a somewhat similar level as the way many gangs in f.e. Sweden operate these days, with shootings done by anybody that is willing to risk their freedom for some quick cash.

Last week, nine people were arrested from different countries suspected of preparing acts of sabotage in Poland. The nine had Ukrainian, Belarusian and Polish passports and are initially charged with “beatings, arson and attempted arson.” A paint factory near Wrocław and an Ikea depot in Lithuania were apparently among the targets of the group of nine, according to Polish PM Tusk.

Last year, Polish authorities arrested others that were taking pictures of and documenting weapon deliveries through Poland to Ukraine. | © 2024 Marcel Burger at