Razman Kadyrov, the Chechen leader who sent more than 10,000 fighters to Ukraine, has urged President Vladimir Putin to step up his offensive against the country. He has previously called for "a large-scale operation" against the Ukrainian army. Now Kadyrov is suggesting that the Russian leader "order" the immediate seizure of places like Kharkov or Kiev "quickly, clearly and effectively".
Both the capital and the country's second largest city have been under heavy shelling for several days, resulting in civilian deaths and an increased flow of refugees fleeing Ukraine.
"I cannot watch my brothers and our soldiers die at the hands of these devils and Nazis," Kadyrov said in a video message to Putin, urging him to ignore the international community's calls for an end to the war. According to the Chechen leader, only an intensive attack can "save" his country and his people, as intensified shelling would force Ukrainian forces to surrender and prevent further losses on the Russian side.
In this regard, Kadyrov again questioned Moscow's military strategy, describing current Russian tactics as "weak". "I am sure that he will make the right decision to take control of Ukraine completely," the Chechen added, alluding to Putin. According to Kadyrov, an attack his way would achieve a victory over Ukraine within a day or two.
The Kadyrovites, the Chechen special forces, have been accused by Ukraine of trying to assassinate the president, Volodimir Zelensky, on at least three occasions. "We are already aware of the special operation that was to be carried out by the unit of Kadyrov's forces. The unit of Chechen forces that came to kill our president was eliminated," Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's National Defence and Security Council, told Ukrinform earlier this month. The Ukrainian leader has stressed that he and his family are Russia's main targets.
Kadyrov is a loyal ally of Putin. In return for maintaining order in Chechnya, Moscow provides political and military support to the brutal regime in Grozny, which is accused of human rights violations. The current president's father, Akhmad Kadyrov, was the republic's grand mufti and leader of the forces during the first Chechen war. However, after the outbreak of the second war, the Kadyrov clan switched allegiance to Moscow.
Akhamad Kadyrov was appointed president of the republic in October 2003, although that mandate did not last even a year, as on 9 May 2004 a landmine killed him during a commemorative parade in Grozny on the occasion of Victory Day. As a result, his son, Ramzan, began preparing to take his place. Finally, in 2007, he was appointed president of Chechnya by Russian leader Putin.
The Grozny regime has been denounced on countless occasions by human rights organisations. Homosexuals and critics of the government are silenced, tortured or killed, as was the case with the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and the activist Natalia Estemirova.
At the same time, Kadyrov and Putin have forged closer ties, to the extent that Grozny has sent its fighters to fight alongside Russian troops in various places such as Georgia, Syria and now Ukraine. In a propaganda video, displaying military hardware and sporting $1,580 worth of Prada boots, Kadyrov confirmed the mobilisation of his troops to Ukraine to "ensure Russia's security" and to root out "terrorists". The battalion also plays a key role in psychological warfare.
In addition to calling on Putin to step up his attacks, the Chechen president also referred to the negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations. For Kadyrov, these talks are "useless". So far, two rounds of negotiations have been held in Belarus, but they have ended without any agreement that would allow the attacks to cease.
While Moscow promised to establish humanitarian corridors and ceasefire during civilian evacuations, the Russian army has not respected this and has shelled places such as Irpin as the population left the town, located on the outskirts of Kiev. There, journalists have reported the death of a family trying to flee during shelling.
Another place where Russia has violated the ceasefire is Mariupol, causing the evacuation of civilians to be dealt with again. "Amid devastating scenes of human suffering in Mariupol, a second attempt to begin evacuating some 200,000 people from the city was halted," the Red Cross said in a statement on Sunday.
Without food, communications, electricity or heating, the southern city faces a "catastrophic" situation. In Mariupol, Russian shelling has caused the death of Kirill, an 18-month-old boy who arrived at the hospital in his parents' arms with serious injuries. Unfortunately, the medical team was unable to save the child's life. Days earlier, the same thing happened to a 6-year-old girl. "Show this to Putin," one doctor told an Associated Press photojournalist.
Zelensky, for his part, has also spoken out about these latest developments, stressing that Ukraine "will not forgive" these attacks. "We will find all the scum who bomb our cities, our people. They will not have a peaceful place on this earth, except a grave," he warned.
Kadyrov's Chechen battalion is not enough for Putin, as, according to the US newspaper The Wall Street Journal, Moscow is reportedly mulling the deployment of Syrians in Ukraine. "The United States indicates that Russia, which has been operating inside Syria since 2015, has in recent days been recruiting fighters there in the hope that their urban combat expertise can help take Kiev and deal a devastating blow to Ukraine's government," explains the newspaper, citing an official who claims that some of these fighters are already in training in Russia.
In this context, the Syrian media outlet Deiz Ezzor 24 reported a few days ago that the Russian government was offering between 200 and 300 dollars to recruit volunteers to operate as 'guards' in Ukraine for six months.
As Jennier Cafarela, an analyst at the War Institute in Washington, tells The Wall Street Journal, 'Syrian fighters have nearly a decade of experience in urban warfare, while the largely Russian-recruited force lacks this skill set'.
On the other hand, she adds that Russia's deployment of foreign fighters "internationalises the war and thus could link the conflict in Ukraine to broader inter-regional dynamics, particularly in the Middle East region".