Euro-2016 the target? French national 'with explosives & AK-47s' detained on Ukrainian border
A French citizen has been detained at the Polish-Ukrainian border with an arsenal of weapons, media reported. The man may be involved in a plot to attack the Euro 2016 championships.
The man had in his vehicle 100 kg of explosives, fuses, three grenade launchers and several Kalashnikov assault rifles, M6 TV channel said. He was trying to smuggle the stockpile into France, the report said.
The arrest has been confirmed by Ukraine's border service to RIA Novosti.
"Yes, we can confirm this happened, but it's SBU who's in charge of that," the press service said. The SBU, Ukraine’s security service, which steps in when foreign nationals get involved, declined to comment.
According to France's DNA news outlet, the man was arrested on May 21 and is still being held by Ukrainian authorities. The outlet says the man was also suspected of trying to acquire even more weapons.
20minutes.fr describes the man as a 25-year-old native of north-eastern region Lorraine, previously unknown to the French police. M6 TV says his home was searched and investigators discovered explosive components and a T-shirt bearing the symbols of a far-right group.
Of the European nations, France was hit hardest by a wave of terrorist attacks last year claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State. The biggest were the attack by gunmen on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, and the string of gun and bomb attacks throughout Paris in November, which collectively claimed 150 lives.
In Ukraine, after two years of economic deterioration and a military crackdown on rebellious eastern regions, a burgeoning black market for weapons has grown up. Small arms, grenade launchers, explosives and other heavy weapons are being stolen from the battle zone and are flooding the rest of the country. Ukrainian media report crimes, suicides and other incidents involving military-grade weapons every week.
Euro 2016 games are to take place at venues located in 10 French cities in June and July. It is the third time France is hosting UEFA’s championship on its soil.