Ukraine embassy, Spanish arms company receive letter bombs -police

MADRID/KYIV, Nov 30 (Reuters): Police in Spain are investigating links between two letter bombs sent to the Ukrainian ambassador in Madrid and an arms company that makes rocket launchers donated to Kyiv.

In the first incident, an official at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid was injured when he opened a letter bomb addressed to the ambassador, prompting Kyiv to order increased security at all representative offices abroad.

Mercedes Gonzalez, a Spanish government official, told broadcaster Telemadrid that the unscanned letter, which arrived by regular mail, caused a “very small cut” on a finger when an official opened it in the embassy garden.

Ambassador Serhii Pohoreltsev told the Ukrainian news site European Pravda that the package in question was handed over to a Ukrainian staff member, the embassy commandant.

“There was a box in the package, which raised the commandant’s suspicions, and he decided to take it out – without anyone nearby – to open it,” Pohoreltsev was quoted as saying.

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“Opening the box, hearing a subsequent click, he threw it away, and then heard the explosion … Although he was not holding the box at the time of the explosion, the commandant hurt his hands and received a concussion.”

Hours later, police confirmed a similar package had been received by an arms company in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain.

Rosa Serrano, a government representative in Zaragoza, told the SER station that both envelopes appear to be from the same sender, as the same e-mail address is written on the back of both. Serrano said the packages came from Ukraine, which spooked the arms company and called the police.

Arms company Instalaza is the maker of the C90 rocket launcher that Spain is donating to Ukraine.

Security has been tightened

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After the first incident, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered all of Kyiv’s embassies abroad to “urgently” tighten security and asked Spain to investigate the attack, a ministry spokesman said.

The Ukrainian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the second incident.

Ambassador Pohoreltsev later told TVE that he was working “without fear” as usual at the embassy.

“We have instructions from the ministry in Ukraine that we need to be prepared for any kind of Russian activity outside the country, any kind of incident,” he said.

Russia invaded Ukraine nine months ago in what it calls a “special military operation,” which Kiev and the West describe as an unprovoked, imperialist land grab.

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Spain’s high court has opened an investigation into the attack, a judicial source said.

Police blasted the factory and the same media reported that no damage was done in the incident.

The envelope sent to Zaragoza was 10 x 15 centimeters, and an X-ray showed an explosive charge with a wire line ready to detonate when the envelope was opened, Serrano said.

Spanish government postal company Corrios told Reuters it was cooperating with the investigation.

The residential area around the embassy in northwest Madrid was cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit was deployed to the scene and the area around the Zaragoza factory.

Reporting by Belen Carreno, Jesus Aguado, David Latona, Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro in Madrid, Tom Bamforth in Kyiv; By Charlie Devereux; Editing by Deepa Babington, Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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