Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) in a statement issued on May 17 claimed that Washington, as part of its frantic bids of using “any means to achieve its geopolitical goals” has been sending Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists to Ukraine to fight alongside Ukrainian forces as well as ‘Nazi Al Qaeda’ Azov Battalion and other neo-Nazi groups.
The SVR revealed in a statement that, according to the intelligence it is receiving, “the United States is actively recruiting even members of international terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State (ISIS) group banned in the Russian Federation, as mercenaries to participate in hostilities in Ukraine”.
The Russian intelligence service points to the American military base in Syria called al-Tanf, which is located close to the borders with Jordan and Iraq. According to its sources, this base and the surrounding area have turned into a kind of terrorist “hub” where up to 500 ISIS and other jihadists can be “retrained” simultaneously. SVR claimed that last month 60 ISIS militants, who had been released from prisons controlled by the Syrian Kurds, were transferred to al-Tanf “with a view to subsequent transfer to Ukrainian territory”.
The SVR specified that during a training course at al-Tanf the militants are instructed on how to use anti-tank missile systems, reconnaissance and strike drones, advanced communications and surveillance equipment.
In the SVR’s opinion, this data confirms that “the United States is ready to use any means to achieve its geopolitical goals, not excluding sponsoring international terrorist groups”.
The intelligence service concluded by saying that the American administration does not consider the consequences of such actions, “even when it comes to threats to the security of European allies and even to the lives of the Americans”.
Washington has insisted that “there are no US soldiers in Ukraine”.
Meanwhile, the presence of American troops on Syrian territory at al-Tanf base, which the SVR mentions in its statement, has long been considered by both Moscow and Damascus as illegal. The previous US administration pledged that American forces would leave northeastern Syria but only after ISIS militants are defeated and the Kurds protected.
Then-National Security Advisor John Bolton made it clear that another task of the US forces at al-Tanf was to counter Iranian influence in the region.
In October 2021, there were reports that, according to Israeli defense sources, about 350 military members and civilians were still using al-Tanf, including some British and French forces that were described as “intelligence experts.”
It may be mentioned here that, one of the gravest concerns centering Ukraine war is gaining strength of Azov Battalion. This time, Azov members are enjoying privilege of getting access to sophisticated weapons and explosives, alongside drones, missiles and other military hardware. It is understandable that Azov members will not just use the military hardware in their battle against Russia. A significant portion of these supplies will go to hidden places and stockpiled for future requirement of this neo-Nazi fascist regiment as it will begin its second phase of battle of establishing influence and bringing Ukraine under their direct control. In other words, as Afghanistan has slipped into the grips of the Taliban, Ukraine too eventually will slip into the grips of Azov Battalion members as well as other neo-Nazi and fascist groups. Ukraine is destined to become tomorrow’s Naziland.
According to counterterrorism experts, fighters of Azov Battalion resemble other para-military units – and there are dozens of them – that have helped in fighting against the Russian military over the past six years. But Azov is much more than a militia. It has its own political party; two publishing houses; summer camps for children; and a vigilante force known as the National Militia, which patrols the streets of Ukrainian cities alongside the police. Unlike its ideological peers in the US and Europe, it also has a military wing with at least two training bases and a vast arsenal of weapons, from drones and armored vehicles to artillery pieces.
Outside Ukraine, Azov occupies a central role in a network of extremist groups stretching from California across Europe to New Zealand, according to law enforcement officials on three continents. And it acts as a magnet for young men eager for combat experience. Ali Soufan, a security consultant and former FBI agent who has studied Azov, estimates that more than 17,000 foreign fighters have come to Ukraine over the past six years from 50 countries. As Soufan looked into the recruitment methods of Ukraine’s more radical militias, he found an alarming pattern. It reminded him of Afghanistan in the 1990s, after Soviet forces withdrew and the US failed to fill the security vacuum. “Pretty soon the extremists took over. The Taliban was in charge. And we did not wake up until 9/11”, Soufan told the TIME magazine. “This is the parallel now with Ukraine”, he added.