On 16 March, a day after Polish media reports on busting a spy ring in the country, the Belarusian pro-Lukashenka Telegram channel “ЖС Premium” linked to the country’s security services published three names of Belarusian nationals allegedly detained in the spy case, claiming those had nothing to do with spy activities:
- Vladislav Posmityukha, born 1994;
- Mariya Medvedeva, born 2004;
- Nikolay Moskalenko, born 1971.
“Of course, these citizens have nothing to do with either special services or law enforcement agencies. Posmityukha and Medvedev are from Minsk. Medvedeva barely turned 18. Whag a Mata Hari! Posmityuha, judging by social networks, is also just a young guy. Moskalenko is from Lviv at all!” the Telegram channel wrote in the initial post before posting more than a dozen more of the exulpating posts.
On 15 March, the Polish radio RMF24 reported that the ABW (Internal Security Agency) detained six “foreigners from across our eastern border” who allegedly worked for Russian secret services. No names or nationalities were disclosed.
On 16 March, Polish authorities said they detained nine members of a Russian spy ring gathering intelligence on weapons supplies to Ukraine.
The channel “ЖС Premium” published a total of 18 posts on Telegram on 16 March, trying to exculpate the alleged spies. Those include:
- video interviews with allegedly Medvedeva’s father and mother, Posmitykha’s father, and Moskalenko’s ex-wife,
- a gallery of Medvedeva’s Instagram photos,
- several angry commentaries
- attempts to ridicule the detainment
- claims that the detained are linked to the anti-Lukashenka movement or criminal underworld
Commenting on the alleged disclosure of the identities of three suspected spies by Belarus, journalist Tadeusz Giczan wrote:
“‘Russian spies’ detained yesterday [on Mar 15] in Poland turned out to be citizens of Belarus. Belarusian state media are so eager to prove their innocence that they have published all their personal details (how did they know who exactly was detained?) and even interviews with relatives.”
“Have a look if you happen to know Russian. Someone clearly stayed up all night to post texts first thing in the morning about how these are ordinary students, with their biographies and interviews with their parents, ex-wives and whatnot.”
Belarusian state media also reported the detention of Nikolai Moskalenko (centre). He's already been checked against the hacked Belarusian databases. There is a note next to his name stating that he is entitled to receive medical services at the KGB clinic and to carry weapons /4 pic.twitter.com/SeWvpOL0Em
— Tadeusz Giczan (@TadeuszGiczan) March 16, 2023
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