According to the Ukrainian security service (SBU), a man was arrested last month who planned multiple attacks in France during the Euro 2016 tournament (set to kickoff on Friday). "We did a big job, had a large team of security agents work on it. The bulk of the credit goes to the military counter-intelligence unit of the SBU." said Vasily Gitsak, the agency's head.
Gritsak said the SBU suspected a "Russian connection" in the alleged terrorist plot, but would not go into details. The head of the service previously accused Moscow of having a hand in the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March, an allegation that prompted Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev to brand Gritsak a "halfwit."
Interestingly, RT is reporting that the French police are skeptical about the affair, a law enforcement source in Paris told Reuters on condition of anonymity. The person in question was not known to either police or intelligence services and police had not found anything incriminating in a search of his home in the Meuse region of France.
The SBU said the man arrived in the Ukraine claiming to be a volunteer willing to help the country's military, came on their radar in December when he inquired about acquiring weapons from troops deployed in the east - which led the SBU to monitor the man. The man was allowed to buy five machine guns, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 275 pounds of TNT, 100 detonators and other arms before the SBU moved in on him and made the arrest on the Yahodyn border crossing between Ukraine and Poland last month.
Euro 2016 games are scheduled to take place in 10 French cities in June and July in the third time France hosts UEFA's championship. France plans to deploy a 90,000 strong security force, and president Francois Hollande says the threat of attacks won't stop the tournament from being successful.
Paris police chief Michel Cadot said security measures tested since the November 13th attacks in Paris have been adapted to fit Euro 2016, creating more access points, security checks, bag and ticket controls and some pat-downs. "We needed to improve. We want to avoid the threat of having someone carry in explosives" Cadot added.
The SBU posted a video of the surveillance and arrest.