MOSCOW – Russia’s domestic intelligence service said on Monday it had arrested 106 supporters of what it called a Ukrainian neo-Nazi youth group planning attacks and mass murders, adding to a long list of potential flashpoints between the two countries.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) said the “Maniacs Cult of Murder” group had been set up by a Ukrainian under the patronage of Ukraine’s intelligence services.
Ukraine’s SBU security service denied this, telling Reuters it had no role in the case and was focused on counter-intelligence inside Ukraine. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian government.
The FSB, in its statement, said it had made detentions in 37 of Russia’s more than 80 regions and that two of the detainees had planned to attack educational institutions.
Russia has aimed a barrage of hostile rhetoric at Kyiv in recent weeks as Ukraine, the United States and western capitals have raised fears over a Russian troop buildup near Ukraine and the possibility of an invasion.
Moscow has denied planning an attack and blamed Ukraine and NATO for stoking tensions, demanding assurances from the U.S.-led alliance that it will not grant membership to Kyiv.
Washington has said it believes Russia may be planning to use alleged “provocations” by Ukraine to justify military aggression. Ukraine last month accused Russia of being behind an alleged coup plot against President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which the Kremlin denied.