Letter bomb injures one at Ukraine’s Madrid embassy, Kyiv ramps up security

A security officer at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid was injured when he opened a letter bomb addressed to the ambassador on Wednesday, prompting Kiev to order increased security at all its embassies abroad.

The letter, which arrived by regular mail and was not scanned, caused a “very small wound” on one finger when an official opened it in the embassy garden, Spanish government official Mercedes Gonzalez told broadcaster Telemadrid.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba ordered all of Kiev’s embassies abroad to “urgently” beef up security and called on Spain to investigate the attack, a ministry spokesman said.

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He added that criminals “will not be able to intimidate Ukrainian diplomats or stop their daily work of strengthening Ukraine and countering Russian aggression.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Madrid, Serhii Pohoreltsev, later told TVE that he was working as usual at the embassy “without fear.”

“We have instructions from the ministry in Ukraine that, depending on the situation, we have to be ready for any incident … any Russian activity outside the country,” he said.

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

The ambassador declined to provide details on how the letter was handled, but said the injured worker had followed protocol and that the embassy would consider ways to improve the system.

Spain’s Supreme Court has opened an investigation into the attack as a possible case of terrorism, a judicial source said.

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Spain’s state postal company Correos told Reuters it was cooperating with the investigation.

A residential area surrounding the embassy northwest of Madrid was cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit was deployed to the scene. Reuters footage showed dozens of police officers armed with assault rifles and vans blocking roads around the embassy.

Reporting by Belén Carreño, Jesus Aguado, David Latona, Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro in Madrid, Tom Balmforth in Kyiv; by Charlie Devereux; edited by Aislinn Laing, Frank Jack Daniel, Mark Heinrich and Deepa Babington

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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