Over the past years, Ukraine has turned for a safe haven for various terrorists and radicals that are freely operating in the country as allies of the young democracy fighting against the Russian totalitarism. ISIS members also appear to be among these “democrats”. However, the difference is that ISIS leaders and expirienced commanders prepfer to use Ukraine as a transfer point en route to Europe.
On November 15, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) announced that they in cooperation with Georgian police and the CIA had detained a senior member of ISIS group – an ethnic Chechen with the Georgian citizenship, known as Al Bara Shishani. He was previously deputy to top ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani (“Omar the Chechen”).
The SBU said in a statement that Al Bara Shishani left Syria in 2016 for Turkey, where he “continued to coordinate” ISIS activities. He reportedly illegally arrived in Ukraine in 2018 using a false passport. He was arrested near his house in a Kiev suburb.
The Georgian security service gave the name of the terrorists as Cezar Tokhosashvili and said he was wanted as “a member of a terrorist organization”.
This is not the first case when ISIS members publicly appear in Ukraine. Earlier, militants trained in ISIS camps formed the Sheikh Mansur battalion that participated in the conflict in the region of Donbass on the side of the Kiev regime.
The detention of Al Bara Shishani is mostly a PR move because of his prominence among the international audience. However, multiple similar “freedom fighters” remain in Ukraine and even use the country as a transfer point en route to states of the European Union.