KIEV: Ukraine said on Monday it had arrested a suspected far-right French extremist with a huge arsenal of weapons who allegedly planned to attack the European Championships in France this week.
The arrest added to jitters over the staging of European football’s showcase event in France after twin attacks in Paris last year claimed by the Islamic State group killed 147.
Preparations for the long-anticipated event have also been marred by rolling strikes that have paralysed transport and torrential rain that caused the River Seine to flood and force the temporary closure of the celebrated Louvre museum.
Ukraine’s security service chief Vasyl Grytsak said the 25-year-old intended to blow up “a Muslim mosque, a Jewish synago gue, tax collection organisations, transportation checkpoints and numerous other locations”.
Grytsak said he “expressed negative views about his government’s approach to the immigration of foreigners into France, the spread of Islam and globalisation,” suggesting the Frenchman was more of a far-right extremist or ultra-nationalist than a member of a jihadist group.
Video released by the SBU security service showed a man whose face was blurred out loading machineguns and other weapons into the back of a van.
Ukrainian authorities said his arsenal included 125 kg of TNT and 100 detonators as well as bullets and even grenade launchers.