Ukraine’s national security service, the SBU, announced Wednesday it detained two suspected Islamic State militants and disrupted their cell in the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine near the Russian border, and has remained under control of the Ukrainian government since the recent Russian aggression in the area.
“Two of the Islamic State supporters detained in Kharkiv were Syrian nationals,” Ukrainian SBU spokeswoman Olena Gitlyanska told Agence France Presse.
The Ukrainian SBU claimed the two suspected ISIS terrorists were sent from ISIS’s sanctuary in Syria to use Ukraine as an entry point to Western Europe. The suspected ISIS members were likely trying to enter Western Europe through Ukraine to conduct terrorist attacks. Reports do not indicate which western European country the suspected terrorists were targeting or when they were detained.
“The organizer of this illegal transfer was a citizen of a neighboring country who is living unlawfully in Ukraine and is suspected by law enforcement officials of possible involvement in terrorist activity,” the SBU stated. A senior source told Agence France Presse the individual who assisted the two suspected terrorists in Ukraine was a Russian national. The SBU did not go into further details, citing it’s an ongoing investigation.
Ukrainian SBU Chief Vasyl Hrytsak claimed March 23 a large group of suspected ISIS fighters were Russian nationals. Ukrainain SBU claimed it arrested 25 suspected ISIS fighters of whom nineteen were Russian.
SBU Chief Hrystak speaking to Ukrainian television on March 23 stated, “It means that from Russia or some post Soviet space representatives or followers, members of ISIS are moving over Russian territory”. Chief Hrystak further elaborated that these ISIS followers “use the territory of Ukraine as a transit zone”.
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