Albania investigates military factory intruders from Russia and Ukraine

Albania said on Sunday it was investigating why two Russians and a Ukrainian had tried to enter a military factory.

The defense ministry said late on Saturday that two of its soldiers had been slightly injured while detaining a 24-year-old man from Russia who had entered the grounds of the Gramsh military factory and was trying to take photos. He resisted arrest and used spray against the soldiers.

Two others, a 33-year-old Russian woman and a Ukrainian man aged 25, were arrested nearby.

Defense Minister Niko Peleshi said on Sunday it was too early to be sure about the motive but referred to geopolitics – apparently indicating a possible link to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been criticized by the Albanian government.

“In view of the broad regional context and the geopolitical context, this cannot be dismissed as just as an ordinary, civilian incident, but we cannot rush to conclusions,” he said after visiting the injured soldiers in hospital.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Saturday the three individuals were “suspected of espionage”, without giving any further details.

Tirana-based media said the three suspects were bloggers who often visited abandoned military bases and other big plants in different countries.

Peleshi said the investigation would show if they were bloggers and what their motives were.

When Albania was under communist rule, the Gramsh plant produced Russian-designed AK 47 rifles.

The ministry’s website says the plant now provides manufacturing services for the defense industry. In the past, it was also used to dismantle small arms and ammunition.

Albania, a member of NATO since 2009, has joined the United States and other western countries to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has introduced sanctions against Moscow.

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