A Frenchman arrested by Ukrainian authorities in May 2015 has been accused of planning to carry out attacks during the Euro 2016 football tournament in France, Ukraine's intelligence agency has said. The man was arrested at the crossing border between Ukraine and Poland as he was trying to reach the European Union.
Authorities explained they had been following the suspect since December. The weaponry he bought during this time include five machine guns, two rocket-propelled grenade-launchers, 125kg of TNT, 100 detonators and 20 balaclavas, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) explained.
The SBU "has managed to foil a series of 15 terrorist attacks that were planned to target France before and during" the tournament, Vasyl Hrytsak, SBU's chief was quoted by AP as saying.
It is believed the suspect wanted to protest against France's "migration policies and the spread of Islam" and planned to attack bridges, railways and other infrastructure. "He also said that he wanted to perpetrate acts of terror in protest," the SBU continued.
SBU added the suspect had been trying to establish contact with "military units in Donbass", eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014.
Ukrainian authorities did not reveal the identity of the man, but French regional newspaper L'Est republicain identified him as Gregoire Moutaux. The paper added French authorities raided his home in Nant-le-Petit, north east France, in May 2015.
News of the man's arrest on 21 May was first reported by French TV Info M6. He was described as a worker from eastern France with no previous criminal record.
Earlier in May, the US warned the Euro 2016 could be a target for terror attacks. The Islamic State (Isis/Daesh) terror group threatened to attack France during the one-month-long event.
France is already on high alert following terror attacks across Paris that left 130 people dead in November 2015. French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday (5 May) the threat of terror attacks "exists", but it will not stop the tournament from being successful. France will deploy a 90,000-strong security force for the tournament.