In Spain, police arrested a man suspected of involvement in the bombings
A man suspected of being the author of six letter bombs sent to Spanish institutions or embassies in Madrid in late 2022 was arrested on Wednesday.
The Spanish Ministry of the Interior announced that the author of the bombs sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid or the Spanish Prime Minister at the end of last year was arrested on January 25.
“National police officers arrested on Wednesday in the city of Miranda de Ebro (North) a Spanish man believed to be the author of six letters containing explosive material that were sent between the end of November and the beginning of December. ..) at the Presidency of the Government, the Embassy of Ukraine in Spain or the Embassy of the USA in Spain,” said the representative of the ministry in a written message.
The letters are addressed to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, his defense minister, the Ukrainian embassy in Spain, the United States embassy in Spain, and the arms company that produces the spear-grenades provided by Madrid. to Kiev or an important Spanish military base at the beginning of the Russian invasion.
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According to the press secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, “the operation (…) is ongoing and the house of the detained person is being searched.” A police source told AFP the man was a “74-year-old pensioner”.
On November 30, a security officer of the embassy was lightly injured in the right hand while opening one of these letters sent to the Ukrainian ambassador in Spain. The rest of the letters were kept by the security service.
Spanish justice has opened an investigation into alleged acts of “terrorism” and Kyiv has ordered increased security at all its embassies after a letter bomb at its embassy in Madrid described as an “attack” by Spain’s foreign minister. , Jose Manuel Albarez.
A suspected Russian paramilitary group
Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhiy Pokhoreltsev, indirectly accused Russia of being behind the bombed letter sent to him.
“We are well aware of the terrorist methods of the aggressor country,” he told Spanish public television. “Russia’s methods and attacks oblige us to be ready for any incident, provocation or attack,” he added.
The Russian embassy in Spain condemned the sending of these letter bombs.
“Faced with information about packages of explosives sent to the Embassy of Ukraine in Spain and official structures of Spain, we declare that we fully condemn any terrorist threat or action directed against the diplomatic mission,” he said. write.
In an article published on Sunday and citing US officials, the New York Times says that US and European intelligence agencies suspect that the bombing campaign was carried out by Russia’s Imperial Russian Movement (MIR) paramilitary group. .
In 2020, this ultra-nationalist and white supremacist group, which was listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, was working undercover for the Russian military intelligence (GRU), the American daily reported.
“Important members of the group traveled to Spain and (Spanish) police uncovered their links to far-right Spanish organizations,” writes the New York Times.
According to the newspaper, this campaign was organized to “test” the ability of these groups to act in the event of an escalation of the conflict. “It’s like a warning shot,” said Nathan Sales, the former State Department counterterrorism coordinator.
Asked by AFP, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior refused to comment on the information.
MIR was founded in 2002 and has been fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas region since 2014, according to Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (Cisac), which maintains a directory of the world’s major extremist groups.
He explains that he is “in touch with neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in Europe and the United States” and has “provided paramilitary training to Russian nationals and members of like-minded organizations in other countries.”
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