90,000 Troops will be deployed during Euro 2016
Armed man arrested by Ukraine agency
Ukraine’s intelligence agency SBU has thwarted a plot to attack the European Championships in France by arresting an armed Frenchman who wanted to cross from Ukraine into the European Union.
The SBU said it had followed the man since December and allowed him to purchase five machine guns, two rocket propelled grenades and other weapons before he was arrested on the border between Ukraine and Poland last month.
The SBU didn’t identify the man but said he was driven by ultra-nationalist views and planned 15 attacks on bridges, railways and other pieces of infrastructure for Euro 2016, which will be held in France starting on Friday.
Following attacks at the Stade de France in November, extremist attacks are a major concern for French authorities as they prepare to host the month-long tournament at stadiums in the Paris area and eight other cities until July 10.
ISIS extremists have threatened France during the tournament, but authorities have not confirmed specific dangers.
The French government is deploying 90,000 security forces for the tournament, and French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday that the threat of attacks won’t stop it from being successful.
Ukrainian authorities released photos of a fair-haired man, with his face blurred, holding various weapons.
The SBU said the Frenchman came up on their radar last year during his stay in eastern Ukraine, and where he was “trying to establish ties with Ukrainian troops under the guise of volunteering”. Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists have fought in the east since April 2014, killing more than 9,400 people. It was not immediately clear which side of the conflict the suspect had stayed at.
“The Frenchman spoke negatively about his government’s migration policies, the spread of Islam and globalisation,” said the SBU.
“He also said that he wanted to perpetrate acts of terror in protest.”