Russia accused of far-right letter bomb campaign against West

Former US Army chief exposes ‘three things’ Putin needs to do in Ukraine war

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Russian military intelligence instructed a far-right terrorist group to carry out targeted letter bomb attacks in Spain, American officials believe. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the American and Ukrainian embassies and the defence minister and foreign diplomats and others were targeted by the campaign between November and December. It is thought the attacks are part of a plan to “test out proxy groups” ready for a potential escalation if the West gets more involved in Ukraine.

Spanish, British and US investigators looking into the attacks have alleged the Russian Imperial Movement are the culprits, the New York Times reported. They have reportedly identified “persons of interests”, a US official said.

RIM are an ultranationalist group, branded as terrorists by the US, with associates across Europe and military-like training facilities in St Petersburg, Russia.

The group, founded in 2012, is believed to have ties to Russian intelligence agency the GRU headed up by Admiral Igor Kostyukov. The GRU were behind the attempted assisination of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.

“The RIM group has provided paramilitary-style training to white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Europe and actively works to rally these types of groups into a common front against their perceived enemies,” said the US State Department.

As part of the plot to scare the West, the group is thought to have enlisted Spanish far-right associates to hit the target’s addresses in Madrid with six packages containing loose gunpowder.

The official residence which also acts as an office of the Spanish Prime Minister was one of the targets, as well as a weapons maker called Instalaza, and the Torrejon de Ardoz air base in East Madrid.

Instalaza manufactures Spanish grenade launchers being sent to Ukraine.

Nobody was killed in the “test” attacks although an employee of the Ukrainian embassy was injured when one of the bombs exploded.

According to the New York Times, the US State Department continued: “Russian officers who directed the campaign appeared intent on keeping European governments off guard and maybe testing out proxy groups in the event Moscow decides to escalate a conflict.”

The officials commented that any attacks or sabotage connected to the Russian state could be met with a NATO response based on material in the alliance’s articles.

This isn’t the first time Russia has used covert and dirty tactics against its enemies around Europe during the Ukraine war.

Last month, the Russians also sent bloody packages containing “animal eyes” to Ukrainian embassies across Europe, Kyiv officials claimed.

“The packages contained animal eyes. The packages themselves were soaked in a liquid of a distinctive color and smell. We are studying the meaning of this message,” Oleg Nikolenko wrote in a statement on Facebook.

Throughout the conflict, Ukraine has reportedly upped its espionage activities.

In Summer, several European countries booted out dozens of Russian spies, reported the Financial Times.

Three baltic states and Bulgaria announced they were kicking out 20 alleged Russian agents while Poland said 45 Russian diplomats were personae non gratae.

Polish officials alleged the spies had been using its diplomats to gather intelligence.

And last month Germany arrested one of its intelligence officers for being a Russian spy.

The suspect, who was secretively named “Carsten L.” was accused of giving information during his work to the Russian intelligence service.

Head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, Bruno Kahl said the information would provide Russia with an “advantage” with the “intention of harming Germany”.

Source: Read Full Article