Police in Spain confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that they are investigating a possible link between two letter bombs sent to the Ukrainian ambassador in Madrid and an arms manufacturer that donated rocket launchers to Kiev.
In the first incident, an officer at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid was hospitalized after he opened a letter bomb addressed to the ambassador on Wednesday, prompting Kyiv to order increased security at all its overseas representative offices.
The Spanish police activated their anti-terror protocol and cordoned off the area surrounding the embassy; bomb disposal experts with sniffer dogs were also on the scene.
Ambassador Serhii Pohoreltsev told the Ukrainian news site European Pravda that the suspicious package addressed to him was given to the commandant of the embassy, a Ukrainian employee.
Pohoreltsev was quoted as stating, “The parcel included a box, which sparked the commandant’s suspicions, so he decided to take it outdoors – with no one nearby – and open it.”
After opening the box and hearing a click, he threw it and then heard an explosion.
Despite not holding the box at the time of the explosion, the commandant suffered a concussion and hand injuries.
A spokesperson for Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba added in a statement that the employee’s life was not in danger, while a Spanish government official later stated that the officer had suffered only a “very small wound” to one finger.
Police verified that hours later, an armaments industry in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain, got a similar package.
Instalaza manufactures the C90 rocket-propelled grenade launcher, which Spain has been giving to Ukraine in the midst of its protracted conflict with Russia.
Rosa Serrano, a government representative in Zaragoza, told the radio station SER that the two envelopes had the same return email address, indicating that they were sent by the same individual.
Ms. Serrano stated that the mail received by the arms company appeared to have originated in Ukraine, which raised suspicions.
The residential area surrounding the embassy in northwest Madrid was blocked off and a bomb disposal unit was dispatched, as did the area surrounding the plant in Zaragoza.
The explosion in the plant was contained by the police, and no injuries or property damage have been reported.
Ms. Serrano stated that the package sent to Zaragoza was X-rayed prior to detonation, revealing an explosive charge with a wire line ready to be activated when the envelope was opened.
A ministry official stated that, following the initial incident, Ukraine’s foreign minister ordered all of Kyiv’s embassies overseas to ‘urgently’ increase security and requested Spain to investigate the attack.
Later, Ambassador Pohoreltsev told the Spanish television network TVE that he was working normally at the embassy “without fear.”
“The Ukrainian ministry has instructed us to be prepared for any type of event or Russian activity outside the country, given the current circumstances,” he said.
Regarding the second incident, the Ukrainian authorities did not immediately react to a request for comment.
Regarding the initial incident, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated, “Whoever is responsible for this explosion will not be able to intimidate Ukrainian diplomats or halt their daily work to strengthen Ukraine and oppose Russian aggression.”
The minister also encouraged his Spanish counterparts to investigate the attack immediately.
A judicial source reported that Spain’s Supreme Court has opened an investigation into the attacks as a possible act of terrorism.
The inquiry into yesterday’s initial explosion will be supervised by a judge from Spain’s Audiencia Nacional court, which handles terrorism investigations.