KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's state security service said Monday it had detained three people who had planned to explode a bomb in the capital Kiev on August 24, the former Soviet republic's Independence Day.
The announcement by the SBU was likely to add to political tension, already high because of the trial of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko whose supporters plan to hold a demonstration in Kiev that day.
SBU operatives found a home-made explosive device stuffed with nails when they raided premises rented by the suspects, it said in a statement. It said they had prevented a "terrorist act."
"According to information available to investigators, the attackers had planned to carry out the bombing on August 24 in Kiev or its suburbs during the celebrations of Ukraine's Independence Day," SBU said.
It had found 100 "extremist" leaflets but it gave no details on the suspects' nationality or their affiliation.
Unlike its ex-Soviet neighbor Russia, Ukraine has no recent history of large-scale bombings or violent political attacks.
However, the trial of Tymoshenko, a leader of the peaceful 2004 "Orange Revolution" and the fiercest opponent of President Viktor Yanukovich, has polarized the nation of 46 million.
State prosecutors accuse Tymoshenko of illegally forcing state energy firm Naftogaz into a gas supply deal with Russia's Gazprom that went against Ukraine's interests.
Tymoshenko, who narrowly lost to Yanukovich in the 2010 presidential elections, denies any wrongdoing and has called the case politically motivated.
Hundreds of her supporters plan to hold a demonstration in Kiev Wednesday when Ukraine marks 20 years since it broke from the Soviet Union and became independent.
(Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Richard Balmforth/Maria Golovnina)