Three people, two with two Russian passports and one with Ukrainian passports, were arrested in Albania, the NATO country, after a sensational incident on Saturday night.
According to Albanian authorities, the three people were said to have attacked the guards at the site with chemical gas.
Two guards at the base, who were making Soviet AK-47s, were injured in the accident.
The photos show two soldiers in hospital with bandages over their eyes. Albanian newspaper Telegraph said that the gas they were said to have been attacked was unknown, but it was said that it blinded the soldiers and caused burns to them in the incident.
They were reportedly charged with espionage, Sunday afternoon, with the intent to provide military information to a foreign country, and possession of nerve gas, Koha newspaper wrote.
The Russians and the Ukrainians took
It was initially reported that one of them was seriously injured in the accident, but both guards are now in good health.
The three arrested are said to be two Russians and a Ukrainian, while the one with a Russian passport is a woman. Albanian newspaper Telegraph said the woman was in her early thirties and the two men were in their mid-20s.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the two soldiers were affected by the nerve agent, but the three were arrested shortly thereafter.
Rama also says that the three are suspected of spying, without explaining why.
They themselves have a completely different interpretation of why they are on the military base.
They told the Albanian police that they are photographers and have their own blogs where they mainly show pictures of former military bases in the former Soviet Union. They also claimed that they often took photographs of areas that are now no longer used by the armed forces.
All three must have traveled on tourist visas in Albania.
It was said that the three people were initially seen around the facility, after which one of them was arrested and the two soldiers were sprayed. Subsequently, other intruders and a car were discovered at the scene.
– Can’t be refused
On Sunday, Defense Minister Niko Peleci said that the Albanian authorities were not sure of the motive, but that they were aware of the geopolitical situation.
Given the regional and geopolitical context, this cannot simply be dismissed as an ordinary civilian accident. We can’t jump to conclusions either, says Peleshi, after visiting the two soldiers at the hospital.
The military base is located in the town of Grams in central Albania. It was formerly used as a factory for the infamous Soviet Kalashnikov rifles and a place where small arms and ammunition were dismantled. The plant is now used to produce goods for the defense industry.
– Russia did not report
Albania is a member of NATO since 2009, and like most Western countries, imposed sanctions on Moscow after the invasion of Russia.
According to the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the Albanian authorities did not inform the Russian embassy of the arrest of the Russians.
– We see information about the alleged incident only in the Albanian media, the embassy tells RIA Novosti.
The anti-terror unit and Albanian intelligence will participate in the investigation.
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