In the last week, six letter envelopes containing an explosive device were found in Spain, almost all addressed to Spanish embassies or institutions and politicians, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Most of the bombs were defused before they exploded or detonated safely by law enforcement, while one exploded in the Ukrainian embassy, injuring an employee.
It is not yet clear who is responsible for these attacks, which appear to be connected to each other, but in the meantime the Spanish government has opened an investigation and has strengthened security in public buildings, placing greater controls on postal orders. Among the hypotheses that have been made on the origin of these events, the one that has circulated with greater insistence concerns the possibility that they are connected to Spain’s support for Ukraine in the war against Russia.
The first letter-bomb had been discovered last November 24: it was addressed to Prime Minister Sánchez, but the suspicious origin had been guessed before it reached him. Another seems to have targeted Defense Minister Margarita Robles. The other letter bombs reached an air base in Torrejón, just outside Madrid, a company that produces weapons in Zaragoza and two embassies in the capital: the US and the Ukrainian one, where the only explosion took place on Wednesday 30 November of one of these letters.
The security officer who had physically opened the letter was injured and taken to the hospital. Ukraine then announced that he is in good health.
The peculiarity of the attacks immediately led to the belief that they had been carried out by the same person or group of people. Moreover, the letters were all very similar to each other, explained in a press conference the undersecretary of Security of the Ministry of the Interior, Rafael Perez: in all cases they appeared as brown letter envelopes and inside they had gunpowder and a electric trigger mechanism. According to Perez, these are devices that generate “sudden flames”, rather than a large explosion.
The hypotheses linking the attacks to Spain’s support for Ukraine arose above all in relation to the recipient of one of the letter bombs: the Zaragoza-based arms manufacturer Instalaza, which sent more than a thousand C90 rocket launchers to Ukraine. At the moment, however, the clues that would confirm this version, or at least the information available in this regard, are not very concrete.
Defense Minister Robles, who visited the Ukrainian city of Odessa on Thursday, said such attacks would not challenge Spain’s support for Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in Spain has published a statement condemning “any terrorist threat or act” linked to the letter bombs.