On Monday morning, a blood-stained package arrived at the Ukrainian Embassy in Athens. Greek police have responded by opening an investigation. The sender remains anonymous.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian diplomatic staff around the world have been receiving bloody packages and letter bombs. The case in Athens conforms to this pattern.
Some Ukrainian officials have blamed Russia for actions that might be part of a broader campaign of intimidation.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Athens
Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took to Facebook this morning and addressed the issue of the bloody package.
“This morning, a blood-stained package arrived at the Embassy of Ukraine in Greece,” Nikolenko said. “The address of the sender is the same as on the rest of the envelopes that were previously sent to Ukrainian embassies and consulates: the Tesla car dealership in the German town of Sindelfingen. The Greek police have launched an investigation.”
Campaign of intimidation?
“In total, we already have 33 threat cases in 17 countries: 1 attempted terrorist attack, 2 mine reports, 1 vandalism, 1 written threat and 28 covered packages,” Nikolenko commented on Facebook.
The intimidation campaign began in late November, when the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid received a letter bomb. Since that time, Ukrainian embassies and consulates across the EU have been targeted with explosive devices and gruesome packages, usually containing blood and animal eyes.
No one has claimed responsibility for the packages, which have all been sent anonymously. However, Russian operatives or Russian sympathizers are suspected by Ukrainian officials. The targeting of Ukrainian diplomatic staff may be part of a broader hybrid campaign to undermine Ukrainian morale and diplomatic efforts.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, told CNN “I feel tempted to say, to name Russia straight away, because first of all you have to answer the question, who benefits?”
“Maybe this terror response is the Russian answer to the diplomatic horror that we created for Russia on the international arena, and this is how they try to fight back while they are losing the real diplomatic battles one after another,” Kuleba continued.
The foreign minister also considered the possibility that Ukrainian embassies are being targeted by someone “who sympathizes [with] the Russian cause and tries to spread fear.”
“The conclusion will be made by investigators, but I think these two versions make most…sense,” Kuleba said.
Russia has been diplomatically isolated since its invasion of Ukraine began in February. Western powers, including the US and the EU, have levied sanctions against Moscow as part of attempts to prevent President Vladimir Putin from funding the war effort with profits from Russian oil and gas.