Police in Berlin are investigating a device they described as “probably” explosive, which was discovered at a building housing the office of a Russian press agency.
Officials confirmed that a device had been found in the basement of the building in the city’s Steglitz district, where state-owned Ria Novosti has offices. It is unclear at present if the news agency was the targeted, with investigators seeking to get to the bottom of who placed the device and what their intentions were.
The device was subsequently destroyed, a Berlin police spokesman said. It had been discovered after police were called about a bottle being thrown at the building, something investigators are exploring for a connection.
The spokesperson was keen to avoid jumping to conclusions over the device’s intended target, pointing out that a number of other companies also operate from the building. Ria Novosti wasted no time in claiming certainty their organization had been targeted deliberately, calling the event “a possible terrorist attack against Russian journalists and their families”.
The incident comes as Russia prepares to hold traditional Victory Day festivities to mark the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, an event some have speculated may be used by Vladimir Putin to make a major announcement concerning his country’s invasion of Ukraine. Intelligence experts have said it is possible the Russian president may use the event to either announce an escalation of aggression, possibly with a formal declaration of war, but that it is equally plausible he could deem his “special military operation” successful and completed.
German intelligence services had said they expected potential pro-Russian activities on German soil in the run-up to Monday’s celebrations, particularly in Berlin.