Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for Europe

Newsline: Ukraine Accuses Russia of Mailing ‘Bloody Parcels’ to Embassies Across Europe

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister is accusing Russia of sending letters containing explosives and animal eyes to embassies in six European countries. The Associated Press reports Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko claims “bloody parcels” were received by the Ukrainian embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia and Italy. Meanwhile, the United States embassy in Madrid, Spain was also on the receiving end of said letters. “We can confirm a suspicious package was received at the US Embassy in Madrid, and are aware of reports of other packages sent to other locations throughout Spain,” the United States embassy told the AP. (https://www.complex.com/life/ukraine-accuses-russia-of-mailing-bloody-parcels-to-embassies-across-europe) The Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev, told the outlet that the embassy fell victim to an explosion caused by the parcels. Though no injuries have been reported, the aforementioned embassies have stepped up their security following the threat.

Newsline: Greek police investigates arson outside Italian deputy ambassador’s home

Police in Greece are investigating an arson attack on cars in the parking lot of the Italian deputy ambassador’s home in Athens on Friday, prompting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to express her concern. “One car was destroyed and a second one suffered limited damage” a Greek police official said, adding the attack took place in the early morning without endangering anyone’s life. Meloni expressed her “sympathy” and “deep concern” to Susanna Schlein, the first counsellor of the Italian embassy in Athens, adding that the attack “was probably anarchist in origin”. “I am following the matter with the utmost attention,” Meloni said in a written statement. (https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/greek-police-investigates-arson-outside-italian-deputy-ambassadors-home-1217605) The Greek and Italian foreign ministries condemned the attack.

Newsline: Ukraine’s Embassies Received Packages Containing Severed Eyeballs of Dead Animals

Ukraine embassies and consulates across Europe have received grotesque packages this week—many containing bloody animal tissue and animal eyes—according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Embassies and consulates in Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland received increasingly creepy packages. The Ukrainian consulate in Brno, Poland, and the consulate in Naples, Italy, received animal eyes in an envelope “soaked in a liquid of a characteristic color and a correspondent smell.” (https://news.yahoo.com/someone-sending-severed-eyeballs-dead-142214671.html) The Ukrainian Embassy in Spain received a similar package, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said. The entrance to the Ukrainian Embassy to the Vatican was vandalized with graffiti and human feces, according to an employee there, who said they had received subtle threats all week. Police in Italy confirmed they are investigating and will run DNA tests. Embassies to the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria received “animal tissue” reportedly stripped of fur.

Newsline: Chinese ‘super embassy’ blocked in London

A Chinese bid for a “super embassy” on the site on the old Royal Mint near Tower Bridge has been blocked amid fierce opposition and a growing political rift between Westminster and Beijing. In a shock decision, Tower Hamlets council voted unanimously to reject planning permission for the new multi million pound development in the heart of central London, despite advisers recommending the new hub be given the go ahead. Councillors normally follow these recommendations. (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/12/01/chinese-super-embassy-blocked-london-blow-xi-jinping/) The move will pile more pressure on London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Housing Secretary Michael Gove, who have a six-week challenge period in which they could decide to call in the verdict. Any public inquiry could take up to 18 months to resolve. Beijing’s new “super embassy” in London would be the largest of its kind in Europe and only around three miles away from Westminster.

Newsline: US, Ukrainian embassies, other sites targeted by letter bombs in Spain

The United States’ embassy in Madrid has received a letter similar to the five letter-bombs sent to the Ukrainian embassy to Spain and other targets in the country, according to La Sexta TV station. Deputy Interior Minister Rafael Perez told reporters earlier on Thursday that the letter bombs received by five other offices, including the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, a Spanish weapon manufacturer and three government institutions were sent from within the country. “It appears that they were all sent from within the country but we are basing this on early visual inspections without yet having an in-depth technical report,” he said. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/1/us-embassy-five-other-sites-targeted-by-letter-bombs-in-spain) The interior ministry said on Thursday that an “envelope with pyrotechnic material” addressed to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had been received on November 24 and disarmed by his security team. A “similar” package was received by the Ukrainian embassy on Wednesday was addressed to Ambassador Serhii Pohoreltsev and exploded when it was opened by a security official.

Newsline: London councillors to vote on Chinese Embassy move

A decision about whether the Chinese Embassy can move to a site near the Tower of London is to be made later. Chinese officials want to move to Royal Mint Court from its current location in Portland Place, central London. Tower Hamlets Borough Council has received 51 objection letters from residents citing security, privacy and safety concerns. The planning application said it would deliver “significant improvements” to the area and create up to 20 jobs. (https://news.yahoo.com/chinese-embassy-tower-hamlets-councillors-055605106.html) Tower Hamlets’ Strategic Development Committee will either approve, refuse or defer the plans at a meeting later. A deferment would happen if committee members raised concerns and requested more detail beyond the scope of the planning application.

Newsline: Blast at Ukrainian Embassy in Madrid Injured One Employee

Spanish police said an employee at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid was injured on Wednesday in an explosion that occurred while he was handling a letter. The staff member suffered light injuries went to hospital under his own steam, police added. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-11-30/spanish-police-say-blast-at-ukrainian-embassy-injured-one-employee) Ukraine’s embassy in Madrid was not immediately reachable.

Newsline: UK summons Chinese ambassador over BBC journalist arrest

China’s ambassador to the UK has been summoned to the Foreign Office after a BBC journalist was allegedly kicked and beaten by Chinese police while covering anti-lockdown protests. The department has called on Zheng Zeguang for a “full and thorough explanation” of the detention of Edward Lawrence. Chinese officials have claimed that Mr Lawrence “didn’t voluntarily present” his press credentials. (https://news.yahoo.com/uk-foreign-office-minister-summons-154117882.html) The broadcaster said that police claimed Mr Lawrence was arrested in case he caught Covid from the crowd.

Newsline: Russian diplomat says prisoner swap with US still possible

Russia and the United States have repeatedly been on the verge of an agreement on a prisoner exchange, a senior Russian diplomat said Tuesday, adding that a deal is still possible before the year’s end. Asked by reporters whether a swap is possible before the year’s end, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov responded that “there always is a chance.” “Regrettably, there have been a few occasions when it seemed that a decision in favor of it was about to be made, but it never happened,” he said without elaborating. “If that happened, iT would undoubtedly send a positive signal that not everything is so utterly hopeless in Russian-U.S. relations,” Ryabkov added. He reiterated Moscow’s call for the U.S. to discuss the issue discreetly and refrain from making public statements. He lamented that “Washington has been abusing ‘loudspeaker diplomacy’ instead of a quiet one, which didn’t help us to do business.” (https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/brittney-griner-russian-diplomat-says-prisoner-swap-with-us-remains-possible) The Biden administration has been trying for months to negotiate the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American jailed in Russia, Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, including through a possible prisoner swap with Moscow.

Newsline: Russia summons Norwegian ambassador

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has summoned Norway’s ambassador to Moscow following the arrest of Russian citizens for allegedly deploying unmanned aerial vehicles illegally. According to the Russian diplomatic service in a statement, Moscow has conveyed to the Norwegian ambassador, Robert Kvile, the inadmissibility of these decisions taken by the authorities of the Scandinavian nation. The Russian representatives have remarked to Kvile that these arrests and trials “are politically motivated” and do not comply with “the principles of fair and impartial justice”, according to the Russian agency TASS. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/moscow-summons-norwegian-ambassador-after-russians-arrested-over-alleged-illegal-drone-flights/) Finally, the Russian authorities have called for an end to what they consider to be ethnically motivated persecution of Russian citizens, which has been exacerbated since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.