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NATO to open counter-espionage hub in Poland

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By AFP | Oct 5th 2015 | 1 min read

NATO will open a counter-espionage hub in Poland by year's end aimed at expanding the alliance's intelligence-gathering capabilities as it faces "threats from the east and south", a Polish defence ministry spokesman said Monday.

A counter-intelligence officer from Poland will be the first head of the new facility in the southern city of Krakow focused on joint exercises in "identifying and countering intelligence threats", Colonel Jacek Sonta told AFP.

NATO's Counter Intelligence Centre of Excellence will also have a branch at a military training range in Lest, south-central Slovakia.

"Creating the centre will give the alliance additional capabilities as it faces threats from the east and south," Sonta added.

The new facility was formally endorsed at a ceremony last week at NATO's Allied Command Transformation facility in Norfolk, Virginia.

The announcement comes as NATO's relations with Russia have hit their lowest point since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine, leading to a spike in spying claims.

Late last month Russia freed an Estonian officer jailed on allegations of spying, exchanging him for a Russian spy in a Cold War-style bridge swap.

NATO already has 21 other Centres of Excellence dotted across its 28 members for a wide range of activities from cyber defence and military medicine to counter-terrorism.

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