Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

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Police officers take security measures around Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid, Spain, after blast took place when an embassy worker opened an envelope on November 30, 2022. (Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Police in Spain have arrested a Spanish man on suspicion of sending six letter bombs to the Spanish prime minister, the Ukrainian ambassador in Madrid, and other high-profile targets late last year, the country’s interior ministry said in a statement Wednesday.  

The arrest of the 74-year-old suspect took place in the town of Miranda de Ebro, about a three-hour drive north of Madrid, the ministry press office said.   

Police said the suspect is retired, is “very active on social media” and has technical and computer knowledge, according to a statement. 

Police determined that the suspect participated in sending the six letters from the city of Burgos, about an hour’s drive southwest of Miranda de Ebro.

Although “it’s presumed that the suspect made and sent the explosive devices on his own, the police don’t rule out the participation or influence of other people in these events,” the ministry said. 

Police searched the home of the suspect in Miranda de Ebro, where it is thought that the bombs were assembled, according to the statement. 

The investigation spanned various provinces before the arrest of the suspect. He was not fully identified, but police provided his initials as “P.G.P.,” the statement added.

The arrest of the suspect is part of an ongoing operation coordinated by an investigating magistrate at Spain’s National Court in Madrid, the interior ministry said.   

The suspect is expected to be arraigned before a National Court judge on Friday in a closed-door hearing, the court’s press office told CNN. 

Some background: The only reported injury from the six letter bombs was at the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid last Nov. 30. An embassy employee was injured while handling the letter, which was addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador, Spanish officials said at the time.   

Authorities said that the other five letter bombs, all intercepted by security screening and resulting in no injuries, were sent in late November or early December.

They were sent to the Spanish prime minister, Spain’s defense minister, the US Embassy in Madrid, a Spanish air force base near Madrid and a Spanish arms maker in the northern city of Zaragoza.  

Spanish media reported that weapons from the Spanish arms maker, Instalaza, had reportedly been sent by Spain last year to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion of that country. The company has declined to comment to CNN about the reports.   

On Dec. 1, 2022, the ministry ordered increased security at embassies and consulates in Spain, and at other sites requiring special protection. Security had already been boosted after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.  

After the spate of letter bombs, the Russian embassy in Madrid tweeted that it condemned the sending of such devices. 

“We condemn any threat or terrorist act,” it tweeted.

But US officials believe that Russian intelligence officers directed a Russian White supremacist group to carry out the letter-bombing campaign as a warning to European governments which have rallied around Ukraine since Russia’s invasion.

Sumber: www.cnn.com

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