MADRID/KYIV, Nov 30 (Reuters) – A security officer at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid was injured when he opened a letter bomb addressed to the ambassador on Wednesday, prompting Kyiv 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 the officer opened it in the embassy garden, Spanish government official Mercedes Gonzalez told Telemadrid television.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered all of Kyiv’s embassies abroad to “urgently” beef up security and called on Spain to investigate the attack, a ministry spokesman said.
The enforcers, he added, “will not succeed in intimidating Ukrainian diplomats or interrupting their daily work to strengthen Ukraine and counter Russian aggression.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to Madrid, Serhiy Pokhoreltsev, later told TVE that he was working as usual at the embassy “without fear.”
“We have instructions from the Ministry in Ukraine that given the situation we have to be prepared for any kind of incident … any kind of Russian activities outside the country,” he said.
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 elaborate on how the letter was handled, but said the injured worker followed protocol and that the embassy would look into improving the system.
Spain’s High Court has opened an investigation into the attack as a possible case of terrorism, a judicial source said.
Correos, Spain’s state-owned postal company, told Reuters it was cooperating with the investigation.
The residential area around the embassy in northwest Madrid was cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit was deployed to the scene. Reuters footage showed large numbers of police armed with assault rifles and blocking roads with vans in the neighborhood around the embassy.
Reporting by Belen Carreno, Jesus Aguado, David Latona, Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro in Madrid, Tom Balmforth in Kyiv; writing by Charlie Devereaux; editing by Aislinn Laing, Frank Jack Daniel, Mark Heinrich and Deepa Babington
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