Ukraine ramps up security at embassies after letterbomb attack

Kyiv has ordered a strengthening of security at its embassies around the world after a guard at the Ukrainian consulate in Madrid was injured in a letterbomb explosion.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Spain to investigate the attack, adding that perpetrators “will not succeed in intimidating Ukrainian diplomats or stopping their daily work on strengthening Ukraine and countering Russian aggression”.

The letter, which arrived by ordinary mail and was not scanned, caused “a very small wound on the ring finger of the right hand” of the employee after he opened it in the garden of the embassy, Spanish government official Mercedes Gonzalez said.

It was addressed to Ambassador Serhii Pohoreltsev, she said.

An officer at the embassy declined to comment.

Correos, the Spanish state-run postal company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the origin of the letter.

Spanish policemen secure the area around the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid (AFP/Getty)
Spanish policemen secure the area around the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid (AFP/Getty)

The National Police told the AP they received a call from Ukrainian embassy at 1.20pm that a letter had burst into flames while being handled by an employee.

Detectives were probing the incident, aided by forensic and intelligence investigators, Spanish police said. Spain’s High Court will lead the investigation.

The residential area surrounding the embassy in northwestern Madrid was cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit was deployed to the scene. Reuters footage showed scores of police officers, armed with assault rifles and blocking roads with vans, in the neighbourhood around the embassy.

Additional reporting by agencies