Kadyrov announces the return of elite units after criticising Russian military actions during Ukrainian counteroffensive

Chechen troops return to Ukraine

photo_camera REUTERS/CHINGIS KONDAROV - Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov addresses service members as he makes a statement, dedicated to a military conflict in Ukraine, in Grozny, Russia, 25 February 2022

Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov has announced via Telegram that elite units led by Adam Delimkhanov returned to Ukraine after some time on holiday, specifically to the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk. "After the liberation of Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Lisichansk, Popasnaya and other cities, the elite fighters rested and now return to the front," Kadyrov said, Russian news agency TASS reported. "So now, be patient and expect great results from our soldiers at the front," the Chechen leader added. 

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, thousands of Chechen fighters have left Grozny for the Ukrainian front to fight alongside Russian troops. Psychological warfare is one of their main roles in the conflict. Also, in early March, Ukrainian forces eliminated a group of Chechens aiming to assassinate President Volodimir Zelensky, something that has also been attempted by mercenaries from the Wagner group.


However, since the beginning of the war, analysts and experts - as well as pro-Russian fighters themselves - have questioned their military capabilities. Likewise, media outlets such as The Guardian have revealed ongoing disputes between Chechen commanders and members of Russian intelligence.

Indeed, Kadyrov himself has recently criticised the military actions of Russian troops during Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive in the east of the country. "They made mistakes and I think they will draw the necessary conclusions," the Chechen leader said on his Telegram channel. 

Moreover, Kadyrov has not ruled out a trip to Moscow to meet with the Defence Ministry's top brass if there is no change in strategy. "If there are no changes in planning I will be forced to talk to the leadership of the Ministry of Defence and the leadership of the country to explain to them the real situation on the ground," he said. 


Despite Kiev's significant victories, Kadyrov has been optimistic, saying that all the cities recaptured by Ukrainian forces "will return to Russian control" and that they will reach Odessa "in the nearest future". 

Over the past weekend, the Ukrainian army has focused on liberating Russian-held strategic points near Kharkov, such as Kupiansk, Balakliya and Izyum. In retaliation for the advances, Russian troops have attacked the power grid in Kharkov, causing blackouts in nearby areas. However, the counteroffensive continues and Ukrainian soldiers continue to regain ground, even just a few kilometres from the Russian border.

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