(New York, N.Y.) — On April 5, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) hosted a webinar featuring a panel of experts to discuss the travel of extremist right- and left-wing foreign fighters seeking to join the Russia-Ukraine war. As the fighting continues, countries must prioritize the prevention of violence-oriented extremists—although currently small in numbers—traveling to the conflict zone and manage the increased domestic security risks that they present upon their return. CEP Senior Director Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler spoke on the issue during the webinar:
“It seems both the authorities in Germany as well as the U.S., if they would need to, struggle to find mechanisms that would prevent violence-oriented extremists from traveling to the war. From our research, it has become clear that this is the case in many countries from which such individuals are attempting to travel; therefore, as things stand now we will have to accept that although small in number, violence-oriented extremists will be able to get themselves to the conflict zone and then back home.”
CEP’s recently updated policy brief, Foreign Fighters in the 2022 Russia-Ukraine War (Update 1): An Assessment of Extremist Volunteers, makes several recommendations as to how governments should eliminate or mitigate the threat of violence-oriented extremists gaining combat experience and returning to their home countries including, ideally, prevention of travel to the conflict zone, information collection and exchange cooperation, and travel and return monitoring.
To watch CEP’s webinar Extremist Foreign Fighters Traveling to Ukraine: Security Risks and Mitigation Measures, please click here.
To read CEP’s policy brief Foreign Fighters in the 2022 Russia-Ukraine War (Update 1): An Assessment of Extremist Volunteers, please click here.