2 Russians and 1 Ukrainian arrested as suspected spies in Albania

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Two Russians and a Ukrainian have been arrested for alleged spying at a military factory in southern Albania, the Albanian Defense Ministry said Saturday.

The Russian man identified only as MZ, 24, was arrested after entering the grounds of the Gramsh factory, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the capital, Tirana, and taking pictures, said the ministry said in a statement. Two military guards were injured by a “neo-stun spray” used by the Russian as he resisted arrest, he added.

Another Russian woman, 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 the police who, in cooperation with other institutions, are investigating the case,” the statement said, adding that military police, army intelligence police and civilian and counter-terrorism police coordinate on the case.

The two army guards injured by the spray were taken to a military hospital for medical treatment.

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 instead began dismantling old Kalashnikovs and other small arms. He also repairs other army weapons.

“What pride for the military guards who neutralized three suspected spies,” Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on Twitter, adding, “We now await full clarification of this event.”

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has firmly renounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and adhered to European Union and United States sanctions against Moscow.

___

Follow all AP stories about the war in Ukraine at https;//apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.