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Second Russian arrested for Euro 2016 attack on English fan

Marseille (AFP) – A second Russian man has been arrested and detained in connection with a violent attack on an English football fan who was left partially paralysed after fans fought running battles in Marseille during Euro 2016.

Mikhail Ivkine was detained on March 22 and remains in custody, said lawyers on Friday.

His detention follows that of a 31-year-old Russian in Germany on the same charges.

The arrests came just months before Russia hosts the World Cup with fears running high of a repeat of the 2016 rampage.

Street battles ahead of the Russia-England match in the French port city of Marseille in June 2016 left 35 people injured, including two England fans who suffered serious injuries.

Andrew Bache, 51, was left paralysed on the left-hand side of his body after being hit around the head with an iron bar in the violence.

Another British man, 47-year-old Stewart Gray, was also seriously hurt.

“I am satisfied with this arrest especially for the victim who today is seriously handicapped,” Bache’s lawyer Olivier Rosato told AFP.

German police had detained the first man on his arrival at Munich airport en route to Bilbao, where he was travelling for a Spartak Moscow Europa League tie.

The suspect, who has not named by police, risks up to 15 years in jail in France for attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

The Russian embassy in Germany protested the arrest at the time.

“We consider this case a possible pretext to exacerbate and politicise hooliganism in football ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia,” wrote Russian embassy spokesman Denis Mikerine on Facebook.

In the immediate aftermath of the violence, France jailed three Russians and deported more than 20 others while Russia was formally warned by UEFA that it could be thrown out of Euro 2016.

Hooliganism experts say Russia’s powerful FSB security service has cracked down hard on football gangs and blacklisted many of their leaders in the run-up to the finals.

Russian law enforcement agents are also working with their counterparts from England and other countries to determine which fans planning to attend games are safe, said a Russian source, adding that the final decision on who gets to attend the matches will be made by the Russian security services.

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