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From Russia, With Vengeance

Members of the West Asian militant group Islamic State (ISIS), along with the Ukrainian Army, are fighting against Russia! The Kremlin made such a sensational allegation just before the first anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine War (marked on February 24, 2023). The Office of Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin also released a video footage on February 16 to support the allegation.

The footage shows a man wearing a Ukrainian Army uniform, with an IS symbol on his shoulder. Moscow claimed that the person was in charge of the Commander of a unit of the Ukrainian Army deployed in the Donbas Region. It may be noted that Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in eastern Ukraine are collectively called the Donbas. According to Moscow, the man is actually the leader of a group of ISIS militants, and Kiev has deployed that group in the battlefield with the help of the US. Another video, released by the Associated Press (AP) on February 15, also showed a Ukrainian commander wearing ISIS insignia. The commander, referred to as Kurt, stated: “In order for us to win, we need fighter jets, rockets.” This video has also raised concerns of increased Islamic militant activity in Ukraine.

As expected, the Government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy has rejected the allegation. The Western media, too, have expressed doubt about the authenticity of the image and video footage released by Russia. Incidentally, the US and the European Union (EU) countries announced on February 15 that they would send more military aid to Ukraine.

Immediately after the US and the EU made the announcement, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) claimed that Washington DC was planning to use IS militants to launch an attack on Russia. The AP reported that the SVR blasted US Occupation Forces in Syria for training militants, affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda, at al-Tanf base on the Syria-Iraq border to carry out attacks inside the territory of former Soviet Republics.

Watch: AP video

In January, Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan, confirmed that he had received evidence of the US attempting to build ties with current Afghan Authorities, apart from secretly sponsoring the IS. He stated: “Yes, there is such data, they (the US authorities) do it not for good, but for harm, because they really want to avenge their shameful military-political defeat in Afghanistan and, in retaliation, they do everything so that peace is not established in this long-suffering land, but even worse is that, in addition to contacts with the armed opposition in Afghanistan, the Anglo-Saxons secretly sponsor the IS.

On the First Anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine War, Moscow stepped up the attack on Kiev. The Russian Ground Forces launched a major offensive in southern and eastern parts of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine has said that it is fully prepared to tackle Russian aggression.

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