Ukraine Claims to Have Detained French Citizen Set to Carry Out Euro 2016 Terror Attacks

Ukraine’s state security service has shadowed the man since December, and allowed him to buy five machine guns and two rocket-propelled grenades before his arrest.
June 6, 2016, 2:00pm
EPA Images/Sebastien Nogier

A French citizen intent on perpetrating a string of terror attacks at Euro 2016 has been arrested by Ukraine's state security service (SBU), according to reports.

Sky News say the man was arrested in late May on the Ukrainian-Polish border, carrying around 125kg of TNT. Ukrainian security forces had been trailing him since December, and allowed him to buy five machine guns, two rocket-propelled grenades and various other armaments in the meantime.

It is claimed that the suspect was motivated by his "ultra-nationalist" views, and intended to target Jewish and Muslim places of worship as well as administrative buildings and infrastructure. He had made contact with several armed groups in the Ukraine at the time of his arrest.

Vasily Gritsak, the head of the SBU, said in a news conference: "The Frenchman spoke negatively about his government's actions, mass immigration, the spread of Islam and globalisation, and also talked about plans to carry out several terrorist attacks." The SBU sold him deactivated weapons, after finding out about his plans.

France is set to deploy 90,000 security personnel over the course of Euro 2016, with the threat of an incident thought to be significant. Last week the US State Department issued a "potential terrorist attack" warning for Americans planning to travel to Europe, while French police and counter-terrorist forces have run numerous practise drills in recent weeks.

The Stade de France was one of the locations targeted during the terror attacks in Paris last November, in which 137 people died. Three men affiliated to ISIS detonated suicide belts outside the ground, with one bystander killed.