The suspect in the recent sending of a series of letters with explosive material to the embassy of Ukraine in Madrid or the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, after which kyiv saw the hand of Moscow, was a 74-year-old Spanish retiree arrested this Wednesday, the authorities of Spain.
The man of Spanish nationality – a 74-year-old retiree according to a police source – was arrested in Miranda de Ebro (Burgos, north), “as the alleged author of sending the six letters with flagrant material that were sent at the end of last November and beginning of December” 2022, a ministry spokesman said in a message to journalists.
LOOK: Spain requests “discretion” in sending material and aid to Ukraine
“The operation (…) is still open and the search of the arrestee’s address is underway,” the spokesman added.
The letters were addressed to the embassy of Ukrainethat of the United States and the president of the Spanish government, the socialist Pedro Sanchez.
They were also sent to the Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, to an arms factory that manufactured grenade launchers sent by Madrid to Ukraine and to a military base, from where flights with aid left for the country invaded by Russian troops.
“Although it is presumed that the detainee made and sent the explosive devices alone, the National Police does not rule out the participation or influence of other people in the events”explained the Ministry of the Interior.
“We work all the possibilities”, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told the press.
In all cases except for the Ukrainian embassy, the envelopes, sent from the Ukrainian embassy itself, Spain, they were intercepted by security personnel without causing damage before reaching their recipient.
The envelope sent to the ambassador of Ukraine in Madrid it exploded when it was being handled by a guard at the diplomatic headquarters, who suffered minor injuries to one hand.
Given this fact, the Spanish justice system opened an investigation for a possible crime of terrorism, while kyiv ordered to reinforce the security of its embassies.
Ukraine points to Russia
The Ukrainian ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, had implicitly pointed out to Russiacountry that invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, of being behind the letter that was addressed to him.
“We know the terrorist methods of the aggressor country”, Pohoreltsev told Spanish public television at the time.
On its side, the Russian Embassy in Spain I affirm that “Any terrorist threat or act, even more so directed against a diplomatic mission, is totally reprehensible.”
According to The New York Times, American and European intelligence services suspected that a small Russian paramilitary group, the Imperial Russian Movement (MIR), was behind the series of explosive letters.
Said ultranationalist and white supremacist group, included in the US list of terrorist organizations in 2020, would have acted covertly on the orders of the Russian military intelligence service (GRU), according to the US media.
“Prominent members of the group traveled to Spain and the (Spanish) police shed light on their links with Spanish far-right organizations,” wrote the New York Times.
According to the publication, the campaign was organized to “test” the action capacity of these groups in the event of an escalation of the conflict.
“Looks like a warning shot”Nathan Sales, a former US State Department counterterrorism coordinator, told the newspaper.
Consulted by AFP, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior refused to comment on this information.
According to Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), which maintains a list of the world’s main supremacist groups, the MIR was founded in 2002 and has been fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists since 2014 in the southern region. Donbas in Ukraine.
He maintains “contact with neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups throughout Europe and the United States” and “has provided paramilitary training to Russian citizens and members of related organizations from other countries,” he explains.