The investigation suspects the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (formerly the Main Intelligence Directorate, GRU) in the organization of mailings of “mail bombs” in Spain in November-December last year. This is stated in an article by The New York Times.
The American publication refers to “U.S. officials” close to the investigation who wished to remain anonymous. According to them, it was possible to get on the trail thanks to the coordinated actions of the Spanish police and American and British intelligence.
According to the received data, the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks are members of the far-right “Russian Imperial Movement” linked to the Military intelligence GRU, based in St. Petersburg, but “whose agents operate throughout Europe.” The Spanish police discovered them because of their connection with local far-right movements.
Terrorism as a Russian political tool
According to sources close to the Spanish investigation, the “mail bomb” mailings were to alert European politicians to the possibility that Russia may carry out terrorist operations in the capitals of NATO members that support Ukraine militarily.
It is no accident that one of the bombs was delivered to the Spanish business Instalaza, which manufactures grenade launchers for the Ukrainian army.
Although it is unclear how close Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the letter bombing operation, a source informed The New York Times that he “gave his military intelligence extensive discretion to organize and conduct covert operations in Europe.”
Russian Unit 29155
According to the investigation, the officers of military unit 29155 at the GRU specialist training center in the east of Moscow were engaged in the perpetrators’ actions.
Previously, the special services of European countries accused employees of this unit in the explosions of ammunition warehouses in the Czech Republic in 2014, the attempt on the arms dealer Omelyan Gebrev in Bulgaria in 2015, the coup attempt in Montenegro in 2016, and the poisoning of Skripal in Great Britain in 2018. Russia denies involvement in these crimes.
The operation of the Russian military intelligence GRU to organize sabotage at weapons warehouses in the Czech Republic in the fall of 2014 was conducted under the personal control of the commander of the army unit 29155 in Moscow, Colonel General Andrei Averyanov.
According to a U.S. intelligence assessment, which was first reported by The New York Times, the same elite group responsible for the recent attacks in Europe, Unit 29155, also operated in Afghanistan and offered bounties to militants with ties to the Taliban in exchange for the killing of American and coalition troops. In 2021, American officials declared that they lacked proof that the Kremlin had ordered the covert effort.
Embassies in the EU under attack
Unknown individuals mailed packages containing explosives to the addresses of Spanish government institutions and several strategic targets at the end of 2022. The offices of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, the Ministry of Defense, the American and Ukrainian embassies, and the satellite facility of the air base in Torrejon de Ardos near Madrid were all targeted with “mail bombs.”
Only the box delivered to Serhiy Pogoreltsev, the Ukraine ambassador, exploded; most bombs were defused. During her disclosure, a Ukrainian embassy security staff member was hurt.
Later, bloody parcels with the eyeballs of dead animals were delivered to several Ukrainian diplomatic missions abroad. According to Kyiv, such packages reached embassies in the Czech Republic, Poland, Croatia, the Netherlands, Hungary, and the Netherlands.
For now, we can wait for the reaction of the authorities of the E.U. countries. Technically, this is not considered an attack on NATO countries, but security measures must be strengthened since Russia, as it appeared, does not respect international law. We are witnessing again how Russia’s hybrid aggression has spread beyond Ukraine’s borders to European Union soil.