Albania arrests 2 Russians, Ukrainian trying to enter military plant

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

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 13, 2022. (photo credit:  REUTERS/JOHANNA GERON)
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 13, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JOHANNA GERON)

The Albanian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that two of its soldiers were injured while trying to stop two Russians and one Ukrainian who were trying to enter a military plant in central Albania, the ministry said in a statement. “Three citizens with Russian and Ukrainian passports have tried to enter the factory,” the ministry said in a statement sent to media.

“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 that the condition of the soldiers was stable.

The ministry said the three foreign nationals were detained. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the three individuals are “suspected of espionage.”

The defense ministry said one of the arrested, identified only as a Russian national M.Z., 24 years old, entered the plant’s territory and was trying to take photos.

The ministry said the man used a kind of spray against soldiers while trying to escape after being stopped by guards.

AKMS (older-style wood handguard typical of AK-47 fitted) with type IV receiver; bottom: AK-47 with type II receiver (credit: US AIR FORCE/STAFF SGT. LEVI RIENDEAU/PUBLIC DOMAIN/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)AKMS (older-style wood handguard typical of AK-47 fitted) with type IV receiver; bottom: AK-47 with type II receiver (credit: US AIR FORCE/STAFF SGT. LEVI RIENDEAU/PUBLIC DOMAIN/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Two others, a Russian woman identified as S.T., 33 years old, and a Ukrainian man F.A., 25 years old were also arrested in the vicinity.

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

History of the Gramsh weapons plant

During communism, the Albanian Gramsh plant was used to produce Russian AK-47 rifles. The ministry’s website said that the plant today provides manufacturing services for the defense industry without giving more details.

Albania has been a member of NATO since 2009.