embassies and consulates in six European countries have received packages containing animals' eyes in recent days, a Ukrainian official said Friday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said in a statement that the "bloody packages" were received by the Ukrainian embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy, as well as by consulates in Naples, Italy; Krakow, Poland and the Czech city of Brno. He said that "we are studying the meaning of this message."
He said that the U.S. Embassy received "a letter with a photocopy of a critical article about Ukraine, but, like most other envelopes, this letter arrived simultaneously with others from the territory of one European country."
"We have reasons to believe that a well-planned campaign of terror and intimidation against Ukrainian embassies and consulates is taking place," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement. "Unable to stop Ukraine on the diplomatic front, someone is trying to intimidate us. However, I can immediately say that these attempts are useless. We will continue to work effectively for the victory of Ukraine."
"It's a very strong signal," said the Ukrainian consul in Naples, Kovalenko Maksym, who confirmed his office received two letters at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday containing fish eyes.
Nikolenko said the parcels arrived after a package containing ansent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid ignited upon opening on Wednesday and injured an employee. That was one of multiple explosive parcels found in Spain this week.
In addition, the entrance to the residence of the Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican was vandalized and the embassy in Kazakhstan was warned of an attack with explosives, though that wasn't confirmed, Nikolenko said.
In Poland, a spokesman for the police in Warsaw, confirmed by email that a package arrived at Ukraine's consulate in the Polish capital on Thursday that "raised concern" from one of the employees. The police department for protecting diplomatic missions was notified and "we quickly eliminated the danger" spokesman Sylwester Marczak said. He provided no further detail. Marczak said he was not aware of any such parcel arriving at Ukraine's embassy in Warsaw.
In the Czech Republic, police said an X-ray scan found no explosives in a checked package, but they added later that animal tissue was found inside that has been submitted to laboratory tests.
Ukraine's ambassador to the Vatican, Andrii Yurash, said the entrance to his Rome residence was vandalized with what he believed was animal feces on Thursday afternoon. The door to the apartment building and the stairs and walls in the entry way were "smeared with a dirty substance with an unpleasant smell," he told The Associated Press. He said his wife and son were not home at the time, and police were called.
All Ukrainian embassies and consulates have stepped up security measures.
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