Two Russians and one Ukrainian were arrested for alleged spying at a military factory in southern Albania, the Albanian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
The Russian, identified only as MZ, 24, was detained after entering the factory grounds in Gramsh, 80 kilometers south of the capital Tirana, and taking pictures, the ministry said in a statement. Two military guards were injured by a “neo-paralyzing spray” used by the Russian while resisting arrest, the newspaper said.
Another Russian, ST, 33, and a Ukrainian, FA 25, were arrested outside the compound and their vehicle was blocked, the ministry said.
“Three people were accompanied by police officers who, in cooperation with other institutions, are investigating the case,” the statement said, adding that the military police, the army intelligence police, and the civil and anti-terror police are coordinating the case.
The two army guards injured by the spray were taken to a military hospital for medical attention.
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The Gramsh Military Factory opened in 1962 to produce AK-47, or Kalashnikov, rifles. After the fall of communism in 1990, it stopped production and began dismantling old Kalashnikovs and other small arms. Also repairs other army weapons.
“What pride for the military guards who neutralized three individuals suspected of spying,” Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter, adding: “Now we will await the full clarification of this event.”
Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has strongly renounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and adhered to EU and US sanctions against Moscow.