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Carlos Luján via PA Images Spanish police at the Ukrainian embassy after the explosion
# Madrid
US embassy and Spain PM got letter similar to one which exploded at Ukraine embassy
The letter that exploded at the embassy in Madrid was addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador.

LAST UPDATE | Dec 1st 2022, 7:19 PM

THE SPANISH PRIME minister and the United States embassy received booby-trapped letters last week that were “similar” to one which exploded yesterday at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid, lightly injuring an employee, officials said today.

Security staff for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez carried out a “controlled explosion” of the mailed item, whose “content was similar” to that found in other letters sent to an air force base, the Spanish defence ministry and a military equipment firm.

The envelope, “containing pyrotechnic material” and addressed to the socialist leader, arrived by regular mail on 24 November, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Yesterday a security officer at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid lightly injured his hand while opening a letter bomb addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador, prompting Kyiv to boost security at its embassies worldwide.

Spain’s High court meanwhile announced it had broadened an initial terrorism investigation over the Ukraine embassy letter bomb to cover the all the other incidents.

Later in the evening, a second “suspicious postal shipment” was intercepted at the headquarters of military equipment firm Instalaza in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, the interior ministry said.

Experts carried out a controlled explosion of that mailed item as well.

Instalaza makes the grenade launchers that Spain donates to Ukraine.

Earlier today, security forces also detected a “suspect envelope” at an air base in Torrejon de Ardoz outside of Madrid which is regularly used to send weapons donated by Spain to Ukraine.

Police were called to the base “to secure the area and investigators are analysing this envelope” which was addressed to the base’s satellite centre, the interior ministry said.

“Both the characteristics of the envelopes and their content are similar in the four cases,” it said in a statement, adding police had informed the National Court of the four incidents.

A fifth envelope with “explosive” arrived at the defence ministry in Madrid on this morning, a defence ministry source told AFP.

Experts blew up the package at the ministry, the source added.

The injured security guard from the embassy letterbomb was discharged from hospital later in the day and returned to work, according to Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev.

In an interview with Spanish state television, Pohoreltsev appeared to blame Russia, saying: “We are well aware of the terrorist methods of the aggressor country.”

“Russia’s methods and attacks require us to be ready for any kind of incident, provocation or attack,” he said.

Spain’s National Police force were informed of an explosion at the embassy at around 1pm local time, according to a police source.

The source said the guard was “lightly” injured and “went himself to a hospital” for treatment.

Police have opened an investigation “which includes the participation of forensic police”, the source said, without giving further details.

Police put a security cordon around the embassy, which is in a leafy residential area in northern Madrid.

A man who lives in front of the embassy, who asked not to be identified, told AFP he had heard the explosion.

“I thought it was gunshot. It was not too loud,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered the strengthening of security at all Ukrainian embassies, Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said on social media after the letter bomb went off.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares spoke with the ambassador over the phone “to ask about the well-being of the Ukrainian worker who was injured,” the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Albares contacted Kuleba by phone to express his “support and solidarity”.

© AFP 2022

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