© Reuters

In a clearly provocative move, the
New York Times has reported that battalions of the Islamic State are working under Pravy Sektor command in several Ukrainian hot-spots, including the strategic port city of Mariupol. Bereft of any kind of evidence to back up its claims of "steady nighttime shipments of Russian military equipment", Andrew Kramer's report is still earnest regarding the odds stacked against the plucky Ukrainian neo-Nazis:
As the Ukrainians see it, they are at a lopsided disadvantage against the separatists because Western governments have refused to provide the government forces with anything like the military support that the rebels have received from Russia. The army, corrupt and underfunded, has been largely ineffective.
Where do you begin? But the kicker is in the next sentence:
[T]he Ukrainians welcome backing even from Islamic militants from Chechnya.
Got that? Islamic militants "from Chechnya", with a handy link so the Gray Lady's readers know where in the world we're talking about. I'll let the report run forward a little bit more:
"I am on this path for 24 years now," since the demise of the Soviet Union, the Chechen [commander of one of three volunteer Islamic battalions currently fighting in eastern Ukraine] said in an interview. "The war for us never ended. We never ran from our war with Russia, and we never will."
Ukrainian commanders worry that separatist groups plan to capture access roads to Mariupol and lay siege to the city, which had a prewar population of about half a million. To counter that, the city has come to rely on an assortment of right-wing and Islamic militias for its defense.

Comment: Leave it to Washington's tools in Kiev to use terrorists to fight an "anti-terrorist operation". And leave it to the spineless "journalists" in the mainstream media to cheer-lead the slaughter, just like they did in Libya:

Journalism as a weapon of war in Libya

As well as now openly admitting that the "right-wing" militias around Mariupol are "openly neo-Nazi", Kramer's article is a good indicator of a new development in the United States plan to set south-west Eurasia on fire. To put it another way, the gloves are now off in forcing Russia into open warfare. For providing a critical link in the chain, one must go to a recent article from Robert Parry at his Consortium News website. Parry is an experienced journalist who first broke the Iran-Contra affair back in 1984, with reports for Associated Press and Newsweek. His site has been an independent hub for investigative journalism since 1995. He refers to a September 2014 report filed by Marcin Mamon at The Intercept. Two snippets jump out of Mamon's fascinating account of the last days of anti-Russian Chechen commander, Isa Munayev, in the Debaltsevo Cauldron. The first point of interest is at the very beginning of the article:
IN SEPTEMBER OF 2014, I found myself standing on a narrow, potholed street in Kiev, east of the Dnieper River, in an area known as the Left Bank. I didn't even know, at that point, whom I was meeting. I knew only that Khalid, my contact in Turkey with the Islamic State, had told me his "brothers" were in Ukraine, and I could trust them.
The "Khalid" that Mamon is referring to is, in his words, "one of the most important leaders of the Islamic State". Later on, we find out that:
The battalion is not strictly Muslim, though it includes a number of Muslims from former Soviet republics, including Chechens who have fought on the side of the Islamic State in Syria.[my emphasis]
We know, even from mainstream reports (not to mention the leaked 2012 report from the US Department of Defense) that the Islamic State is a creature of the United States and its allies. What the NY Times conveniently leaves out—while sobbing for the poor, unpaid right-wing militias fighting in the Ukraine—is that two previously separate conflicts are now being merged: the Salafist offensive in Syria against Bashir al-Assad, and the conflict against the separatist provinces in eastern Ukraine. The map below shows the relative distances involved:

Ukraine conflict
© Unknown

As you can see, everything is pretty close, well within cargo plane range if one uses deeply ambivalent NATO member, Turkey, as a transit area for transport of fighters and materiel. Islamic State fighters under the command of Pravy Sektor thugs illustrates a new US-architected offensive strategy, one in a long line of provocations that are becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore. It's also the next natural step after the United States finally admitted to itself that the Ukrainian armed forces just aren't up to the task of taking over the Donbass. Where else can NATO find troops to throw at the east, without risking any of their own lives? Of course. The Islamic State. Russia's only response may be to release the choke-chain on Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechen leader and Putin ally. The recent attack in the centre of Grozny that he quelled and the formation of "Vladimir Putin's combat infantry" shows a Kadyrov itching for a fight. Will he be allowed to fight fire with fire and confront the Islamic State threat now at Crimea's doorstep? Loosing an enraged Kadyrov on his treasonous countrymen might give Vladimir Putin the plausible deniability he needs, in order to avoid a bigger conflagration that may be about to engulf the now-connected region.