French citizen receives six-year sentence in Ukraine for planning terrorist attacks

On Monday, May 21, the Lyuboml District Court of Volyn Oblast sentenced French citizen Gregoire Moutaux, who was detained at the Yagodyn auto checkpoint in May 2016 while trying to transport weapons and explosives across the border out of Ukraine.

A Hromadske correspondent reported that Moutaux was found guilty of preparing to carry out a terrorist act and smuggling; as a result, was sentenced to six years in prison. The Ukrainian News Agency specified further that the French citizen was found guilty under Art. 201 (arms smuggling), Art. 258 (preparation of a terrorist act) and Art. 263 (illegal handling of weapons and explosives) of the Ukrainian Criminal Code.

During the court proceedings, the prosecution presented time-sensitive audio recordings on which Moutaux tells an SBU agent, former Azov battalion combatant, Mikhail Zubov, about his plans. The Frenchman did not comment on the records and refused to testify in court.

The Court was also unable to hear testimony from Zubov himself, as he committed suicide last spring. The investigation did not discover any accomplices of Moutaux.

On May 21, 2016 Moutaux tried to cross through the Yagodyn checkpoint via the "green corridor” in a Renault Kengoo vehicle with a French license plate. Several SBU employees with automatic weapons stopped him. The agents found a whole arsenal in the trunk of the Renault, including five Kalashnikov assault rifles, more than five thousand cartridges, two anti-tank grenade launchers, 125 kilograms of TNT and 100 electric detonators.

Two weeks later, SBU Chief Vasyl Hrytsak made a shocking announcement that the intelligence service had exposed a terrorist group that was planning a series of terrorist acts in France before and during the European Football Championship in 2016. According to Hrytsak, the detainee, along with his accomplices, planned to use the discovered arsenal, which had been collected in Ukraine, to simultaneously detonate bridges, roads, a mosque and a Jewish synagogue on French soil.

  Gregoire Moutaux, France, terrorist acts