Security stepped-up for Ukraine embassy in Lisbon

Security stepped-up for Ukraine embassy in Lisbon

Following booby-trapped letters sent to various entities in Spain

Authorities in Portugal have stepped up the protection of Ukraine’s embassy in Lisbon saying they may review the threat level in the country following the receipt of several booby-trapped letters by various entities in Spain.

In response to a request for clarification from Lusa – following news of the letters – Portugal’s internal security system, SSI, has confirmed that the Anti-Terrorism Coordination Unit (UCAT), which operates within SSI, “is closely monitoring the situation” and is in “close articulation with its Spanish, European and international partners.

“If, as a result of this cooperation with Spain and international partners, and of our internal analysis, a re-examination of the degree of threat and security is justified, the competent authorities will immediately take the corresponding and appropriate alert measures and security arrangements,” Paulo Vizeu Pinheiro, of SSI’s secretary-general’s office said today.

UCAT is made up of representatives of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) – which assesses the level of threat on national territory; PJ Judicial Police  – responsible for investigating terrorism; the PSP – responsible for protecting diplomatic premises; the National Republican Guard (GNR), SEF Immigration and Borders Service, the Maritime Police and the Defence and Strategic Intelligence Service (SIED).

All these entities are “working in an articulated and permanent manner” with international partners, in particular with the counterparts in Spain of the SIS and the PJ, assure official sources.

In Madrid on Wednesday a man suffered non-serious injuries at Ukraine’s embassy in the Spanish capital due to the explosion of a device inside an envelope.

Since then, Spanish authorities have revealed that five more letters containing explosives have been received – the latest at the US embassy in Madrid. 

According to Spain’s secretary of state for security, Rafael Pérez, the other envelopes containing explosives intercepted in the last week were sent to the country’s prime minister, its defence minister, to a satellite centre and to an arms company.

The envelope sent to prime minister Pedro Sánchez was intercepted last week, while the others were identified on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, Spain’s minister of interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, recommended that the European Commission and partner countries take action if they receive booby-trapped letters similar to those sent in Spain, stressing that they may be related to the war in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s minister of foreign affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, confirms that Portugal’s embassies abroad have been told to take extra care when receiving mail.