Russians and Ukrainians, alleged Kremlin spies arrested at Albania base after their guards doused in chemical

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Three suspected Kremlin spies were arrested in A member country of NATO from Albania on Saturday following an attack on two guards at a military base suspected of being a chemical agent.

The Albanian Defense Ministry said late Saturday that two Russians and a Ukrainian had been arrested on charges of espionage at the Cekin Military Factory, an arms manufacturing plant in southern Albania.

The ministry said in a statement that the first Russian suspect – a 24-year-old man identified only as MZ – was arrested after entering the factory grounds in Grams, about 50 miles south of the capital, Tirana, and taking photographs. Two military guards were injured by a “new anti-paralysis” spray that was used by the Russians while Resist arrest, according to the ministry. They were taken to a military hospital for treatment.

Police quickly set up checkpoints and blocked a car in which the two other suspects were in.

An NYPD employee accused of spying for China stopped a federal trial the following month after a $2 million bond was released

The second Russian suspect – a 33-year-old woman identified as ST – and a 25-year-old female Ukrainian man The ministry said that F.A. was arrested. outside the complex.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks at a joint press conference with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez not pictured in Tirana, Albania, on August 1, 2022.
(Gint Onozzi/Xinhua via Getty Images)

“Three people are accompanied by the police who are investigating the case in cooperation with other institutions,” the statement said, adding that the military police, army intelligence police, civilian police and anti-terror police are coordinating in the case.

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Gramsch Military Factory opened in 1962 to produce AK-47 or Kalashnikov assault rifles. After the fall of communism in 1990, it halted production and instead began dismantling old Kalashnikovs and other small arms. It also repairs other army weapons.

British soldiers take part in the 22nd Rapid Response Military Exercise at the Krivolak Military Training Center in Negotino, in central Macedonia, on May 12, 2022. The exercise, which involves about 4,600 soldiers from North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, as well as France, the United Kingdom and the United States, It aims to show that NATO forces can be fully deployed and cooperated.

British soldiers take part in the 22nd Rapid Response Military Exercise at the Krivolak Military Training Center in Negotino, in central Macedonia, on May 12, 2022. The exercise, which involves about 4,600 soldiers from North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, as well as France, the United Kingdom and the United States, It aims to show that NATO forces can be fully deployed and cooperated.
(Robert Atanasovsky/AFP via Getty Images)

“What a pride for the military guards who neutralized three people suspected of spying,” Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter, adding: “Now let’s wait for the full clarification of this event.”

Politico pointed out that the suspects I entered Albania as a tourist Under a loophole allowing Russians to enter the country during the summer vacation period without a visa – a rule that came under scrutiny after the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Last year, two more suspected Kremlin spies entered Albania in the same way before being taken into custody after they were spotted by a drone outside the former communist-era air base of Kuchova, which NATO is said to have recently begun to convert from an aircraft graveyard into a modern terminal. for operations in the Western Balkans.

Albania, a member of NATO since 2009, has strongly abandoned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has given up on it. Join the European Union and US sanctions against Moscow.

During a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last month, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said that he and his country “stand firmly in full solidarity with Ukraine, and of courseAnd the Needless to say, our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, is as unwavering as ever,” according to Politico.

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“It is important that we continue our conversation regarding the situation, as well as the commitments we have in the Western Balkans to prevent exactly every escalation and prevent every bad influence from becoming a problem for our region,” Rama added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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