Ukraine’s intelligence agency thwarted a plot to attack France during the Euro 2016 football tournament, targeting sites including a synagogue.
Security service intelligence chief Vasyl Hrytsak claimed the man, Gregoire Moutaux, 25, was planning 15 attacks and was driven by ultra-nationalist views.
He was arrested on the Polish border, after Ukraine’s security service (SBU), said it followed him since December and allowed him to purchase five machine guns, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 125kg of TNT, 100 detonators and other weapons.
He also bought 20 balaclavas before he was arrested at the Yahodyn border crossing between Ukraine and Poland last month, authorities said.
The SBU “managed to foil a series of 15 terrorist attacks which were planned to target France before and during” Euro 2016, said Hrytsak.
Targets he planned to attacked included a French synagogue, bridges, motorways and a mosque, according to the BBC.
The SBU said the suspect wanted to protest against his government’s migration policies and the spread of Islam.
French regional newspaper L’Est republicain identified the man as Gregoire Moutaux and said investigators raided his home in Nant-le-Petit near the eastern city of Nancy in late May.
Ukrainian authorities released photos of a fair-haired man, with his face blurred, holding various weapons, as well as a video of the arrest which showed Swat officers dragging the man out of a white minivan and putting him on the ground of what looked like a car park with his face down.
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 from Friday through to July 10. They are deploying a 90,000-strong security force for the tournament, and President Francois Hollande said on Sunday night that the threat of attacks will not stop it from being successful.
The Paris police prefect, Michel Cadot, declined to comment on the information from Ukraine, saying only that “there is no specific threat against any (Euro 2016) site”.