Police on Friday arrested eight Spaniards suspected of fighting on the pro-Russian side in eastern Ukraine, the Interior Ministry said, describing it as the first operation of its kind in Europe.
A ministry statement said the activities of the eight could constitute offences that “compromise Spain’s peace or independence on being Spaniards who, taking part in an armed conflict, violate the neutrality Spain must keep in relation to the international community.”
They are also suspected of being accomplices in killings allegedly carried out by pro-Russian groups, and of possessing arms, the ministry said.
The eight went to Ukraine last year and returned recently. It said they had joined pro-Russian groups fighting for independence in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the statement added.
The eight were arrested in early morning raids in six different parts of Spain.
The ministry said the suspects had posted videos on social networks of themselves training, handling arms and expressing support for the secessionists.
It said it was the first operation in Europe directed against foreign fighters in Ukraine.