Ukraine’s foreign minister has accused Russia of being behind a series of more than a dozen letters containing explosives or animal parts that were sent to Ukrainian diplomats around the world.
“This campaign aims to sow fear,” Dmytro Kuleba told CNN in an exclusive interview in Kiev last Friday (2).
When asked who he thought was behind the letters, Kuleba told CNN : “I am tempted to say, name Russia right away, because first of all you have to answer the question, who benefits?”
“Perhaps this terror response is the Russian response to the diplomatic horror we have created for Russia in the international arena, and this is how they try to fight back while they are losing the real diplomatic battles one after another.”
He said he thought Russia was directly responsible or someone “who sympathizes with the Russian cause and tries to spread fear”.
“The conclusion will be made by the investigators, but I think these two versions make more sense.”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova sent the CNN a one-word comment in response to Kuleba’s claim: “psychopath.”
There were 17 cases of embassies receiving letter bombs, fake letter bombs or letters containing animal parts such as cow and pig eyes, added Kuleba.
THE CNN saw an image of one of the letters containing what authorities said was a pig’s eyeball inside a padded envelope.
“It all started with an explosion at the Ukrainian embassy in Spain,” said Kuleba. “But what followed that explosion was weirder, and I would even say sickening.”
Kuleba was referring to an explosion that took place on Wednesday (30) at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, injuring a Ukrainian official who was handling a letter addressed to the country’s ambassador to Spain. Spanish officials said on Thursday that a letter bomb was also sent to the country’s prime minister last week and another to the US embassy.
Kiev embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy, Austria and the consulates general in Naples and Krakow also received suspicious packages, Oleh Nikolenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Friday on Facebook .
The packages were “soaked in a characteristically colored liquid and had a corresponding smell,” he said. “We are examining the meaning of this message.”
Ukraine has placed all its diplomatic stations abroad under heightened security after the huge amount of suspicious correspondence.
The Ukrainian consulate in Brno, a city in the southeast of the Czech Republic, was briefly evacuated on Friday after receiving a suspicious package containing animal tissue, Czech police added in a tweet on Friday.
Kuleba urged foreign governments to ensure maximum protection of Ukrainian diplomatic institutions in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In addition to the suspicious packages, Nikolenko said the entrance to the ambassador’s Vatican residence was vandalized and the Ukrainian embassy in Kazakhstan received a report of a bomb threat, which was later unconfirmed.
Nikolenko also claimed that the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States received a letter with a photocopy of an article critical of Ukraine. Most of the envelopes were sent from Europe, he added.
Czech police tweeted that the consulate in Brno and its immediate surroundings, including a kindergarten, were evacuated on Friday. After investigating the package, police said it did not contain any explosives, adding that they had no information indicating that people at the consulate or nearby were in danger.
“Initial analysis suggests that the package contained animal tissue. A detailed analysis will be carried out in laboratories now,” the police tweeted.
— CNN’s Al Goodman and Pau Mosquera contributed reporting
Source: CNN Brasil
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