In Donbass hostilities zone, the self-defense forces dealt with “the Islamic State” militants that have been deployed to Ukraine from the Middle East, says Yegor Kvasnyuk, expert at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies (RISS) for Ukraine, a former citizen of Odessa.
“In the territory of Lugansk region occupied by ATO units, we dealt with the so-called ‘ISIL militants’ and ‘Dudayev's militants.’ We have data that a considerable number of the men from the territorial battalions were involved in the Syrian conflict. We can see that the number of the Islamic militants on the engagement line between the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the former Ukraine is growing. We see that Islamists from the Middle East are being deployed to Donbass to war. After all, they are not able to anything else,” Kvasnyuk says.
In his words, previously the number of the Islamic militants fighting in the zone of Ukraine’s conflict with Novorossia was 700-800 people. Now, thousands are fighting there. “The exact number is not known, unlike the route: Turkey-Romania, than to Donbass via Ukraine. The militants are transferred by sea either to Odessa or to Nikolayev, and farther by land transport or on foot. As for Odessa, my compatriots in Odessa confirm that many foreigners, likely Arabs have occurred in the city. These residents of the Middle East stay in Odessa for a suspiciously short period of time. They arrived, traveled somewhere, did something and left for an unknown destination,” Yegor Kvasnyuk says.
The expert recalls that Ukraine became a shelter for Jihadists also previously. “After the first Chechen operation, Dudayev's militants were delivered to Ukraine. In Crimea, in Odessa they built special camps and hospitals for Dudayev's militants. Actually, this system was developed yet long ago,” he says. The expert believes that the number of Jihadists in Ukraine is growing mainly as “Russia is fighting ISIL in Syria” and because “the Islamic State and Jihadists from other groups (Jabhat al Nusra, Ahrar al Sham and others) have declared Jihad against Russia. “Caught by Russia’s airstrikes the ISIL militants flee Syria to Turkey. Turks are not happy to see them, and send militants mainly to Europe. Much less the militants are welcome in Europe. That is why, Jihadists flee to Ukraine,” the expert says.
He says concentration of anti-Russian forces with Islamic orientation is growing in the territories of the countries bordering with Russia - the post-Soviet republics - mainly the ones where pro-Islamic flows are active. “They are preparing a storm around Russia. Zbigniew Brzeziński predicted such developments,” the RISS expert says.