Police investigate two Ukraine war-related letter bombs

Two incidents related to the war in Ukraine have put the Spanish police on alert.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
30 November 2022 Wednesday 22:33
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Police investigate two Ukraine war-related letter bombs

Two incidents related to the war in Ukraine have put the Spanish police on alert. Sources close to the investigation tell La Vanguardia that they are working on the hypothesis that both events are related to each other, as they are similar packages received on the same day.

The first took place at 1:00 p.m. in Madrid, at the Ukrainian embassy, ​​in the Hortaleza neighborhood, where a letter bomb exploded, slightly injuring a security employee.

The second took place last night around 9:00 p.m. when the police carried out a controlled detonation of a letter with similar characteristics to the one received at the headquarters of Instalaza, an arms company in Zaragoza. This company has provided some of the shipments of military material sent from Ukraine from Spain.

No injuries were reported in the Zaragoza incident. Neighbors around this factory were warned by the police to lock themselves in their homes. The letter was received at 6:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m. the controlled explosion was recorded. Half an hour later the surrounding streets reopened.

Instalaza manufactures the C90 grenade launchers that the Ministry of Defense sent to Ukraine during the month of March, in one of the first shipments that Spain made after the Russian invasion. There were more than 1,000 units that reached the Ukrainian army along with some 700,000 rounds of ammunition.

In the case of the Ukrainian embassy, ​​the letter bomb exploded around 1:00 p.m. this Wednesday, causing a minor injury. The letter, without any sender appearing, according to the account of the Ukrainian ambassador in Spain, Sergei Pohoreltsev to whom the device was addressed, was inside a larger package that aroused the suspicions of his secretary in such a way that he notified the security services. security.

The employee, who was injured in the explosion, went out into the embassy garden and proceeded to open it in a place away from the rest of the legation staff. It was then, according to this same account, that he heard a "click", at which point the employee moved the box away. Then there was an explosion that caused injuries to his hand. He was treated at the Nuestra Señora de América hospital from which he was released yesterday.

Despite being a compound device, according to the investigation, with pyrotechnic material, the ambassador assured that if he had not acted with the diligence with which the security employee did, someone could have been seriously injured.

The police now have the task of investigating these incidents as quickly as possible to determine if there is a relationship between the two – which seems the most logical given the characteristics of both events – and to find out if it could affect “international order and security”. , that is, if what happened can be part of an organized operation that can affect other interests of Ukraine or the coalition that helps them.

In this sense, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry asked the Spanish authorities to clarify the explosion that occurred at its embassy as soon as possible, while announcing that they will reinforce security in all its foreign legations.

José Luis Calama, from the Central Court of Instruction number 4 of the National Court, has taken charge of the investigations. By default, the National Court assumes all cases related to terrorism.

Following the explosion at the embassy, ​​the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dimitro Kuleba, announced that his country "will urgently strengthen the security of all its embassies." He also added that "whoever is behind this explosion will not be able to intimidate Ukrainian diplomats or stop their daily work to strengthen Ukraine and counter Russian aggression."

Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares spoke with the Ukrainian ambassador as soon as he heard about the incident from the Romanian Fetesi base where he was visiting the Spanish troops stationed in that country. Hours later, Albares also communicated with Kuleba, to whom he conveyed his support and solidarity.