Two Russians and one Ukrainian arrested after suspected spying raid on Albanian arms factory

Male suspect tried to use paralysing spray on security guards after being caught trying to take photographs at the facility at Gramsh.

Two Russians and a Ukrainian have been arrested after an apparent bungled spying raid on a military base and arms factory in central Albania, the Albanian defence ministry said on Saturday.

One of the male suspects allegedly attacked the guards with a paralysing spray while trying to take photographs of the Gramsh factory, which is used for dismantling derelict weapons, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry added that two of its soldiers were injured while trying to stop the raid, but the three foreign nationals were detained.

Albanian prime minister Edi Rama said the three individuals are “suspected of espionage”.

“Three citizens with Russian and Ukrainian passports have tried to enter the factory,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The officers who were guarding the plant reacted immediately, but during their efforts to stop the three foreign nationals, two of our soldiers were injured,” the statement said, adding the conditions of the soldiers was stable.

“In an attempt to escape control, one of the Russian nationals, identified by the initials MZ, 24 [years old], used neuroparalysing spray on the two security guards,” after he was tackled by the guards, the ministry added.

Two others, a Russian woman identified as ST, aged 33, and an Ukrainian man, identified as FA, 25 years old, were also arrested in the vicinity.

“What pride for the military guards who neutralized three individuals suspected of espionage,” Rama wrote on Twitter, adding: “Now let’s wait for the full clarification of this event.”

During the summer holidays Albania is visited by many Russians and Ukrainian tourists. The Gramsh military base is more than 70km away from the beaches.

During communism, the Albanian Gramsh plant was used to produce the Russian type of rifle AK-47.

According to the ministry’s website, the plant today provides manufacturing services for the defence industry, without giving more details.

Albania has been a member of Nato since 2009.

Read this article on the website The Guardian.