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Ukraine embassy guard in Madrid ‘lightly’ injured by letter bomb

MADRID (AFP) – A security guard at Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid was lightly injured on Wednesday while opening a letter bomb addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador, prompting Kyiv to boost security at its embassies.

The letter, which arrived by regular post, exploded in the early afternoon as the guard opened it in the embassy garden, said the central government’s representative in Madrid, Mercedes Gonzalez.

The guard was discharged from hospital later Wednesday and returned to work, Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, said.

Spain’s National Police force were informed of an explosion at the embassy at around 1pm, a police source said.

The source said the guard was “lightly” injured and “went himself to a hospital” for treatment.

Police have opened an investigation “which includes the participation of forensic police”, the source said, without giving further details.

Spanish policemen block the street to a pedestrian after a letter bomb explosion at the Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid. PHOTO: AFP

Police put a security cordon around the embassy, which is in a leafy residential area in northern Madrid.

A man who lives in front of the embassy, who asked not to be identified, told AFP he had heard the explosion.

“I thought it was gunshot. It was not too loud,” he said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered the strengthening of security at all Ukrainian embassies, Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said on social media after the letter bomb went off.

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares spoke with the ambassador over the phone “to ask about the well-being of the Ukrainian worker who was injured”, the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Albares also contacted Kuleba by phone to express his “support and solidarity”, it added.

Later in the evening, a second “suspicious postal shipment” was intercepted at the headquarters of military equipment firm Instalaza in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, the interior ministry said.

Experts carried out a “controlled explosion” of the mailed item.

“Investigators are analysing the exploded device and checking if there are any links between this event and what happened this morning at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid,” it added.