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.
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.
The GRU, headed up by Igor Kostyukov, is thought to have instructed terrorists to bomb Spain targets (Image: GETTY)
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.
The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was targeted with a mail bomb (Image: GETTY)
The Russian Imperial Movement are known to have associates around Europe (Image: GETTY)
Russian Imperial Movement training facilities. Wall reads: “God. Tsar. Nation” (Image: GETTY)
Igor Kostyukov is the current director the GRU (Image: GETTY)
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”.