Chechen Islamists Flock to Ukraine to Back Govt Against Rebels

'We Always Fight the Russians'

Ukrainian government efforts to portray their civil war as a fight primarily against the Russian Federation appears to be paying some dividends recently, as volunteer units of Chechen Islamists are arriving in Ukraine to join the government’s side in fighting against the rebels.

“We like to fight the Russians,” declared one of the Chechens, adding “we always fight the Russians.” Three Islamic battalions are in Ukraine right now fighting for the government, deployed on the front lines in their battle against the ethnic Russian rebels.

While the Ukrainians are cheering the arrival, saying they are happy for all the help they can get, they are also a risk for the ongoing ceasefire, as volunteer Islamist factions aren’t exactly known for their level-headedness and willingness to obey the chain of command.

It also risks setting the stage for more wars after the resolution of the ongoing civil war in the east, as the government was already heavily reliant on neo-Nazi militias, and adding Islamist groups to that seems to be adding to the powder keg.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.