MADRID: Bomb disposal experts defused a letter bomb at the US Embassy in Madrid on Thursday (Dec 1), the sixth such device sent to high-profile targets in a wave that prompted Spain to step up security and vow not to be deterred from supporting Ukraine.
Defence Minister Margarita Robles, who was visiting the Ukrainian port city of Odesa on Thursday and met her Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, said the letter bombs would not deter Spain from supporting Ukraine’s “just cause”.
The campaign began with a package sent to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Nov 24, spurring Madrid to tighten security around public buildings. Since Wednesday, similar devices were also sent to the defence ministry, an air force base, a weapons manufacturer and the Ukrainian embassy – where a security officer was slightly injured.
What must be very clear is that none of these deliveries or any other violent action will change the clear and firm commitment of Spain, NATO countries and the European Union to support Ukraine,” she said.
The latest package was intercepted at the US Embassy by security officials and was later detonated in a controlled explosion by Spanish police.
On Wednesday, a package addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain detonated at the country’s embassy as a security official investigated it, causing minor injuries to his hands and a concussion. Security has now been stepped up around embassies as well.
Later on Wednesday, Instalaza, an arms manufacturer in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain, that has sent more than 1,000 C90 rocket launchers to Ukraine, received another package. On Thursday, an air force base housing a European Union satellite centre, Spain’s defence ministry and the U.S. Embassy also received packages.
Pedro Rodriguez, professor of international relations at Comillas University, said the letter bombs were designed to draw maximum attention.
Regardless of the perpetrator, individual or organised, what we have here is an attempt to make noise. It starts small and gradually increases the number of targets,” he said, adding that he believed the bombs were not the work of an individual
After the package sent to the Ukrainian embassy detonated, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered all of Kyiv’s embassies abroad to “urgently” strengthen security.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, appeared to blame Russia.
We have instructions from the ministry in Ukraine that given the situation we have to be prepared for any kind of incident … Russian activities outside the country,” he told Spanish television station TVE on Wednesday