KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian who negotiated the exchange of prisoners in the eastern conflict zone was placed under court-ordered detention on Friday on suspicion of preparing “terrorist acts”, after he was caught transporting weapons into Ukraine-held territory.
The flow of illegal weapons is one of the issues Kiev is grappling with as a result of its nearly four-year conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, in which more than 10,000 people have been killed and around 1 million displaced.
Volodymyr Ruban was apprehended on Thursday at a frontline checkpoint with a collection of weapons, including machine guns and explosives, the State Security Service (SBU) said, adding that it had been tracking his activities for some time.
In a meeting with the head of the SBU, President Petro Poroshenko said Ruban was part of a criminal network that had planned to destabilise Ukraine through violent attacks.
“Large-scale terrorist acts were being prepared in Ukraine,” Poroshenko said.
Ruban, who is the head of a non-governmental organisation that has organised swaps of Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists, could not be reached for comment.
A Kiev district court ordered that he be detained for two months while the case is further investigated.
Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Gareth Jones