“The Swedish government is partly responsible for the fact that this attack could take place,” said Russia’s press attaché, Sergej Petrovitj.
The embassy car was parked on Rålambsvägen near the Russian embassy in Stockholm. A witness saw a man throwing a package under the vehicle, which burst into flames. After a technical investigation the police reported that they are treating the incident as arson.
Nobody was hurt in the attack, but directly afterwards a group called Global Intifada claimed responsibility.
In an email to several newspapers, they said it was a protest against the Russian state “for its imperialist war on Chechnya”. On different web sites the group has also claimed responsibility for other attacks in Sweden, including those against Bofors in Gothenburg and Stockholm, the Polish Consulate in Sundbyberg and a weapons company in Malmö.
The incident caused intense diplomatic activity between Stockholm and Moscow. Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Vladimir Tjisov, will demand increased protection for the embassy and its staff when he meets the Swedish ambassador in Moscow today, while the Russian ambassador will meet Swedish foreign office representatives in Stockholm.
But in a press release from the Russian foreign office, Vladimir Tjisov has already made his feelings clear. He said that Sweden has ignored repeated requests from Russia for increased security around the embassy, despite known threats of terror attacks.
Sergej Petrovitj went even further with his criticism of Swedish security.
“It’s no secret that certain terrorist and extremist organisations feel safe and free in Sweden,” he said.
As an example, Vladimir Tjisov pointed to an interview with the Chechen “terror leader” Sjamil Basajev published by the Swedish news agency TT on Monday.
Basajev is one of Russia’s most wanted men and claims responsibility for numerous attacks against the country, including the school hostage attack in Beslan last September, which claimed over 340 lives.
In the interview, he praised Sweden and threatened more atrocities against Russia.
“It’s hard to see this as a coincidence,” said Vladimir Tjisov.
According to Dagens Nyheter, the Russian ambassador in Stockholm had already complained about the interview to Sweden’s foreign office but was told that the government does not decide what is published in the Swedish media.
However, Säpo, Sweden’s security police, which is now running the investigation, is not treating the incident as terrorism “in the normal sense”.
“No, but it is political extremism,” information director Anders Thornberg told Metro. “It’s a question of a loosely linked extreme left network.”
Thornberg said he could not rule out that there might be more attacks.