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MADRID (AP) — Spanish police said Wednesday that they had detained one Russian national and one Ukrainian national for their alleged smuggling of defense material to Russia in defiance of European Union sanctions.

The National Police said that the two people were arrested in Spain’s northern Basque Country region on an undisclosed date.

Customs agents aided in the police investigation that started in June 2021 when police detected what they suspected was an illicit operation to send double-use aeronautical equipment to Russia.

The police said in a statement that they suspected the smuggling ring was meant to help Russia elude the European Union trade sanctions imposed on it following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“The smuggling ring that has been broken was designed to supply military equipment for the aeronautic sector,” the National Police said.

The smugglers had developed a “sophisticated” system of evading international customs controls, police said, that made the shipments appear to be destined for countries not under embargo, only for them to end up in Russia.

The arrests were accompanied by raids on the suspects’ homes. The case is now in the hands of a National Court judge.

Police did not provide any more information on the identity of the suspects when asked by The Associated Press.

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