The recent letter bomb campaign against Spanish top officials was carried out by Russian military intelligence working in allegiance with a Russian white supremacist militant group, U.S. newspaper the New York Times reported on Jan. 22, referring to its sources.
Spanish and foreign investigators recently zeroed-in on the extreme-right Russian Imperial Movement group, which has members across Europe and a military-style training base in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The group very likely cooperates with Russian military intelligence and special services, U.S. intelligence officials told the newspaper. Police have found some top members of the extremist organisation in Spain and tracked their ties with far-right Spanish movements.
U.S. official sources told the New York Times that Russian intelligence officers might have directed the campaign of bomb letters as they wanted to catch European officials off guard. The United States believes the campaign was aimed at signaling there was a terror threat for the whole of Europe, including the capitals of NATO members.
Spainish investigators have identified persons who may have been involved in committing the terror attacks.
The New York Times said that currently there are no signs Russia is ready to broaden its threat in Europe, as it doesn't want NATO to directly enter the war in Ukraine. But it could carry out more sabotage or terrorist actions across Europe if military support for Ukraine continues growing and Russia suffers major setbacks in the war.
The Russian Imperial Movement or RIM promotes ethnic Russian nationalism and advocates the restoration of Russia’s tsarist regime, and also maintains contacts with neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements across Europe and the United States. The movement was designated a global terrorist organisation by the U.S. State Department in April, 2020.
The RIM supports the Kremlin only partly, as its members are displeased with the incompetence of Russian military commanders and widespread corruption in Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's regime. But they do have the shared goal with the Kremlin of destabilizing Europe, which Russian intelligence could use in its favor while leading a letter-bomb operation.
Where explosive were found in Spain:
A series of bomb attacks occurred in Spain at the end of November and the beginning of December. The first letter bomb explolded in the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid.
Military company Instalaza located in the north of Spain also received a bomb letter. Some of its products are being supplied to Ukraine. An explosive letter was found at Torrejón Air Base as well.
It was reported later that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez' security service found a bomb in a letter addressed to him even before the explosion in the Ukrainian embassy. Similar parcels addressed to Spain's defense minister and the U.S. embassy in Spain were also discovered.
A few days later the Spanish police intercepted in the post three parcels believed to contain animal eyes. They were addressed to Ukrainian diplomats.