The foreigners "suspected of espionage" were trying to enter Gramsh factory in central Albania, which is used for dismantling derelict weapons, officials say.

Albania has been a NATO member since 2009.
Albania has been a NATO member since 2009. (Reuters Archive)

Two Albanian soldiers have been wounded while trying to stop two Russians and a Ukrainian national from entering a military plant, the country's Defence Ministry said.

One of the suspects allegedly attacked the guards while trying to take photographs of the Gramsh factory in central Albania, which is used for dismantling derelict weapons, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

"In an attempt to escape control, one of the Russian nationals, identified by the initials MZ, 24, used neuroparalysing spray on the two security guards," the ministry added.

Two other suspects –– a Russian citizen identified as ST, 33, and Ukrainian national FA, 25 –– were also arrested near the factory.

'Suspected of espionage'

The wounded Albanian soldiers were taken to a Tirana hospital after sustaining eye injuries, statement said.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the three individuals were "suspected of espionage".

The military police, alongside intelligence and anti-terrorism agencies, rushed to the scene to investigate the incident.

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

During communism, the Albanian Gramsh plant was used to produce the Russian type of rifle AK 47.

According to the ministry’s website the plant today provides manufacturing services for the defence industry, without giving more details.

Albania has been a NATO member since 2009.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies