Eighteen Ukrainian diplomatic missions in 12 countries have received bloody packages in what Ukraine has described as a “campaign of terror and intimidation”. Oleh Nikolenko, a spokesperson from Ukraine’s foreign ministry, said the packages were simultaneously sent from one European country, which he could not disclose while the investigation was ongoing.
As of Friday, Ukraine said 17 embassies had been targeted, indicating that another was delivered on Saturday.
A Ukrainian embassy employee in Madrid was injured on Wednesday by a letter bomb, which was addressed to Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain.
A further four letter bombs were sent on Wednesday to addresses in Spain, including to a Spanish arms manufacturer that has produced rockets donated to Ukraine, as well as Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and the US embassy in Madrid.
In an interview with CNN on Friday, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, described what followed the Madrid attack as “more weird” and “even sick”.
He said that after Wednesday packages started arriving at various Ukrainian diplomatic missions soaked in liquid with a distinctive smell and containing animals’ eyes.
“In one case it’s most probably an eye of a cow, and an eye of a pig in another case,” said Kuleba.
Asked who he thought was behind the packages, Kuleba said he “feels tempted to name Russia” as it benefits from sowing fear among Ukrainian diplomats. But he added that it could also be someone who sympathises with Russia, so he would await the findings of ongoing investigations.
Russia’s embassy in Madrid tweeted on Thursday that any terrorist attacks on diplomatic missions were “totally condemnable”.
On Friday afternoon, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said the packages had been delivered to Ukraine’s embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy, to general consulates in Naples and Kraków, and the consulate in Brno in the Czech Republic.
It later announced that a similar package had also been delivered to the Madrid embassy and that investigators were on the scene. Nikolenko posted a picture of the Madrid embassy garden, where a Spanish police officer could be seen patrolling with a dog.
In addition to the packages, the residence of Ukraine’s ambassador to the Vatican was smeared with what Ukraine suspects may have been animal faeces. “The door to the apartment and the stairs and walls in the entryway were smeared with a dirty substance with an unpleasant smell,” said Ukraine’s Vatican ambassador, Andriy Yurash.
“It is hard to explain completely why and what is the reason for this terrible message, but it is no doubt a systematic trend, a systematic attack on Ukrainian missions around Europe,” he said.
A hoax bomb threat was received concerning Ukraine’s embassy in Kazakhstan. Ukraine has called for its embassies to step up security and has asked host countries to help.