The Central Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry may be behind the distribution of parcels with bombs to the residence of the Spanish Prime Minister, the country’s Ministry of Defense, as well as to the US and Ukrainian embassies in Madrid, writes The New York Times citing sources among officials in the EU and the US.
According to them, the Russian far-right group Russian Imperial Movement, which is supervised by GRU officers, could send out parcels with explosive devices. The group has partners across Europe, as well as military-style training centers in St. Petersburg, officials said. Earlier, the State Department recognized the movement as a terrorist organization.
In total, the group sent six parcels, and the only victim was an employee of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission – he was slightly injured. The US authorities consider these actions a terrorist attack, the purpose of which was to show that Russia and its proxies can carry out terrorist strikes throughout Europe, including in the capitals of NATO member states helping Ukraine, the US official said.
At the time of sending the parcels, important members of the “Russian Imperial Movement” were in Spain. The local police managed to establish their links with far-right Spanish organizations, writes NYT.
At the same time, it remains unclear whether the sending of the bombs was sanctioned by the Kremlin. At the moment, there are no signs that Moscow is preparing for a large-scale campaign of sabotage in Europe. Such actions could provoke a NATO response and lead to an expansion of the conflict at great cost, NYT sources say. in Washington.
However, interlocutors in the American intelligence services admit that the attitude of Russian President Vladimir Putin to such attacks may change if Russia continues to suffer significant defeats in the war against Ukraine.
The parcels were a “warning shot” – a signal that Moscow is ready to use terrorist organizations to strike at NATO from the rear, said a US intelligence source.
Bomb parcels began arriving at official institutions in Spain in late autumn and early winter last year. After that, more than ten Ukrainian embassies in the Netherlands, Poland, Italy and other EU countries received bloody packages with animal eyes. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called it a well-planned campaign of terror and intimidation of his country’s diplomatic missions.