Widespread reports, not to mention video footage, confirm that North Caucasians are indeed fighting in Ukraine. Areas like Chechnya and Ingushetia, where Russia is arguably already at war, now link Moscow to the newer conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk. In other words, one of Russia's most violent areas is now feeding the bloodshed in Europe's newest war zone.
Chechen militants have reportedly joined pro-Russian separatist groups in Ukraine, most notably the Vostok battalion, whose name recycles the moniker of a battalion that fought Islamic extremists in Chechnya from 1999-2009. These are the “Kadyrovtsy,” well-trained irregular armed forces loyal to Chechnya's current leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.