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A man suspected of being the author of six letter bombs sent at the end of 2022 to Spanish institutions or embassies in Madrid was arrested on Wednesday.
The alleged author of letter bombs sent at the end of last year to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid or to the Spanish Prime Minister was arrested on Wednesday January 25, the Spanish Interior Ministry announced.
“Members of the national police arrested on Wednesday a man, of Spanish nationality, in Miranda de Ebro (North), considered to be the alleged author of the sending of six letters containing explosive material addressed at the end of November and the beginning of December (. ..) at the Presidency of the Government, at the Embassy of Ukraine in Spain or at the Embassy of the United States in Spain,” a ministry spokesperson said in a written message.
These letters had been addressed to the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez, to his Minister of Defense, to the Embassy of Ukraine in Spain, to the Embassy of the United States in Spain and to an arms company manufacturing spears -grenades donated by Madrid to kyiv at the start of the Russian invasion or to an important Spanish military base.
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According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior, “the operation (…) is in progress and searches are being carried out at the home of the arrested person”. A police source told AFP that the man was a “74-year-old pensioner”.
During the opening of one of these letters, addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador in Spain, the security officer of the embassy had been slightly injured in the right hand on November 30. The other letters had been intercepted by the security services.
Spanish justice had opened an investigation for alleged acts of “terrorism”, while kyiv had ordered a reinforcement of security in all its representations after the explosion of the letter in its Madrid embassy, described as “attack” by the head of Spanish diplomacy, José Manuel Albares.
A suspected Russian paramilitary group
Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, had implicitly accused Russia of being behind the bombed mail sent to him.
“We are well aware of the terrorist methods of the aggressor country,” he told Spanish public television. “The methods, the attacks of Russia oblige us to be ready for any type of incident, provocation, or attack,” he added.
The Russian embassy in Spain had for its part condemned the sending of these letter bombs.
“Faced with the information on the explosive packages sent to the Ukrainian embassy in Spain and to official Spanish entities, we declare that any terrorist threat or act, moreover directed against a diplomatic mission, is totally reprehensible,” she said. writing.
In an article published on Sunday and quoting American officials, the New York Times assures that the American and European intelligence services suspect a Russian paramilitary group, the Russian Imperial Movement (MIR), of being behind this campaign of sending bombs. .
This ultranationalist and white supremacist group, registered on the American list of terrorist organizations in 2020, would have acted underhand for Russian military intelligence (GRU), affirms the American daily.
“Significant members of the group have traveled to Spain and the (Spanish) police have shed light on their links with far-right Spanish organizations,” writes the New York Times.
According to the daily, this campaign was organized to “test” the ability of these groups to act in the event of an escalation of the conflict. “It looks like a warning shot,” Nathan Sales, a former US State Department counterterrorism coordinator, told the daily.
Questioned by AFP, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior declined to comment on this information.
According to Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (Cisac), which maintains a directory of major supremacist groups around the world, MIR was founded in 2002 and has been fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists since 2014. in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
It maintains “contact with neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups across Europe and the United States” and “has provided paramilitary training to Russian nationals and members of like-minded organizations from other countries” , he explains.