Ukraine has detained a Frenchman suspected of planning a series of terrorist attacks across France during the upcoming Euro 2016 championship, the Security Service of Ukraine said Monday.
Security Service chief Vasyl Hrytsak told a news conference that Ukraine "managed to prevent 15 terrorist acts planned to be carried out on the eve of and during the European football championship in France," according to state news agency Ukrinform.
Euro 2016 begins on Friday when hosts France play Romania in the opening match at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris.
Fifty-one matches will be played at 10 venues, with the final at the Stade de France on July 10.
The Frenchman came to Ukraine under the guise of volunteering to fight in the conflict in the country's east and managed to obtain 125 kilograms of TNT, five assault rifles, two anti-tank grenade launchers and ammunition, according to the Security Service.
He planned to blow up bridges and highways infrastructure in various parts of France, as well as a tax collection office, a mosque, a synagogue and public areas to be used for the football championship, the Security Service's statement said.
"The Frenchman expressed opposition toward his government allowing mass immigration into France, as well as the spread of Islam," the statement said.
The Security Service said it had been monitoring the man since December, when he arrived in the east "to establish contacts with Ukrainian troops under the guise of volunteering help."
Ukraine's military has fought against pro-Russian separatists in the country's two eastern-most regions for more than two years. More than 9,000 have been killed in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.
Meanwhile, French officials said on Monday that security was being increased for Euro 2016 with an additional 1,200 military personnel deployed in the greater Paris area.
Paris police prefect Michel Cadot said the danger of a terrorist attack during the tournament was high, although the authorities had no concrete indications of an attack.
Security is being heightened around the venues in Paris and Saint-Denis, fan zones and public area including transport, tourist and business areas.
Monday, June 6, 2016 - 16:07
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 14:43