10:15 GMT31 July 2021
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    NEW YORK (Sputnik) - Foreign militants returning to Europe from conflict zones in Syria and Iraq are actively using the route via Ukraine, Ilya Rogachev, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's new challenges and threats department, told Sputnik.

    "Many returnees from Syria and Iraq seek to enter Ukraine through Turkey since Ukraine has a visa-free regime with the European Union. So, Western partners created another big problem for themselves. The Turkish side has been making efforts to avert the transit of terrorists through its territory, but it can hardly stop all of them … It is relatively easy to obtain a Ukrainian passport, so terrorists seek to go there," Rogachev said.

    According to Rogachev, the European Union introduced a visa-free regime with Ukraine to "encourage Kiev for its Russophobia" and revitalize the country’s European aspirations. As a result, the politicization of the situation with Ukraine has led to a security problem for the European Union itself, the diplomat concluded.

    Rogachev noted that the main problem was that hundreds and thousands of militants from conflict zones have dispersed across the world. The majority avoid returning to countries of their origin, where law enforcement agencies may have records of their movements and take action.

    READ MORE: Europe Goes Right-Wing While Demoralized by Unstoppable Immigration — Analysts

    The issue of dealing with such returnees has turned into a problem of third countries, the diplomat concluded while stressing that international cooperation could play a key role in tackling this aspect of counterterrorism.


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    Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, militants
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