Russia arrests over 100 suspects linked to Ukrainian neo-Nazi group

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By Euronews  with AFP
The headquarters of the FSB, pictured in downtown Moscow.
The headquarters of the FSB, pictured in downtown Moscow.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) says it has arrested 106 suspected members of a Ukrainian neo-Nazi group.

Authorities carried out a number of raids across Russia on Monday against the "MKU" youth group, the FSB said in a statement.

The group is accused of using social media and online messaging forums to plan "terrorist acts and mass murders".

The authority claimed that the suspects had been operating "under the auspices of the Ukrainian special services".

But Ukraine has denied any links to the suspects, amid rising tensions between the two countries.

A Ukrainian security official told AFP that the allegations were a "media campaign" aimed at discrediting Kyiv.

Western nations have raised fears, accusing Russia of building-up troops near Ukraine ahead of a possible invasion.

Among those suspects arrested on Monday include "three administrators of the organisation's internet communities ... [who had] called for violent actions," the FSB said.

"Two more detainees are suspected of preparing armed attacks on educational institutions," it added.

A number of weapons were seized as part of the searches.

The FSB said the investigation had been carried out alongside the country's interior ministry and state Investigative Committee.

Several other alleged members of the MKU group - which stands for Maniacs Cult of Murder - were arrested by the FSB in February.

A source in Ukrainian law enforcement confirmed to AFP that the MKU group - founded by neo-Nazi Egor Krasnov - did exist but was "no longer active in Ukraine".

Krasnov is currently under investigation in Ukraine for a series of armed attacks and a racially motivated attempted murder.