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

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MADRID/KYIV (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 greater security at all its representative offices 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, Mercedes Gonzalez, a Spanish government official, told broadcaster Telemadrid.

Hours later, an arms company in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain, received a similar package, local media reported citing police sources. Reuters could not independently confirm the information.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered all of Kyiv's embassies abroad to "urgently" strengthen security and urged Spain to take investigate the attack, a ministry spokesman said.

The perpetrators, he added, "will not succeed in intimidating Ukrainian diplomats or stopping their daily work on strengthening Ukraine and countering Russian aggression."

Ukraine's ambassador to Madrid, Serhii Pohoreltsev, told TVE later that he was working as usual at the embassy "with no 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 give details of how the letter had been handled but said the injured worker had followed protocol and that the embassy would look into improving the system.

Spain's High Court has opened a probe into the attack as a possible case of terrorism, a judicial source said.

Local media identified the arms company in Zaragoza receiving the second suspicious parcel as Instalanza, the manufacturer of the C90 rocket launcher that Spain donates to Ukraine.

Police carried out a contained explosion in the factory and the incident reported no damage, according to the same media.

Correos, the Spanish state-run postal company, told Reuters it is cooperating with the investigation.

The residential area surrounding the embassy in northwestern Madrid was cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit was deployed to the scene. Reuters footage showed scores of police officers, armed with assault rifles and blocking roads with vans, in the neighbourhood around the embassy.

(Reporting by Belén Carreño, Jesus Aguado, David Latona, Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro in Madrid, Tom Balmforth in Kyiv; writing by Charlie Devereux; editing by Deepa Babington and Alistair Bell)

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