War in Ukraine: did Russia support the attack on Spain?

Russia is suspected of carrying out several acts of sabotage or influence in various European countries, between the attack in Madrid and recruitment in Serbia.

Did Russia Organize Attacks on Spanish Officials? An international investigation into a package bomb targeting several Ukrainian supporters highlighted Moscow’s influence in Europe, as mercenaries affiliated with the Kremlin influence several Balkan countries.

Spain was hit by a series of parcel bomb attacks in November 2022, targeting buildings such as the Prime Minister’s building, the Ukrainian embassy or even the Instalaza arms factory that supplies grenade launchers to Kyiv. An employee of the Ukrainian Embassy was also injured in the explosion of one of the packages.

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If the common point between all of these venues is the support for Ukraine they represent, until now no one has linked Russia to these series of attacks. But articles from New York Time dated January 22 reveals that the Russian Imperial Movement (MIR), a paramilitary organization, will participate in sending these letters

Spanish investigators, working with American and British intelligence, suspect this ultranationalist organization with links to Spanish far-right groups. Some of these members will also travel to Spain.

Russian intelligence claws

According to investigators, this attack will be a test run rather than a large-scale operation. “It feels like a warning,” said Nathan Sales, Trump’s State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator when MIR was designated a terrorist organization. “Russia is sending a signal that it is ready to use foreign terrorists to attack the rear of the West.”

But the Russian officers behind the terror campaign also work for the General Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation Armed Forces, or GRU. It is the intelligence service that is accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer, and his daughter, in March 2018 in England.

More specifically, Unit 29155, which serves the GRU, is believed to be behind the terrorist campaign. The Russian officer who coordinated the action in Spain was a member of “161e Special Purpose Specialist Training Center”, which is headquartered in the same building as unit 29155.

Balkan disturbance

Beyond this potential Russian action in Spain, several other attacks by Wagner’s group, backed by the Kremlin, should be noted in the former Yugoslavia.

Serbian President Vučić rightly asked Russian mercenaries not to recruit fellow citizens. Balkan media Russia Today, which is controlled by Moscow, has indeed made an offer in Serbia to invite all Serbian volunteers to join the group.

Several pro-Russian demonstrations in the country have been held since the start of the invasion. The rallies in support of Russia have mainly taken place on the border between Serbia and Kosovo, following Pristina’s decision to apply European Union sanctions against Moscow. A new demonstration of “support for the Kosovo Serbs” then took place on December 12 in Belgrade, which was lively described on Wagner’s social networks as a “patriotic act”, all “in the context of the deteriorating situation in Kosovo”.

The Minister for Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Selmo Cikotić, also told Radio Free Europe that Wagner was indeed present in the region. According to him, Wagner members and extremist organizations took part in the national holiday of the Bosnian Serb Republic, the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina which part of the population wants to join Serbia.

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