In addition to the Kadyrovites, Moscow will facilitate the arrival of foreign fighters who want to fight with the Russian army in Ukraine. According to the Kremlin, there are "more than 16,000 volunteers" from the Middle East

"Now we are even closer": Kadyrov claims to be close to Kiev supervising Chechen forces

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.

According to the Chechen television channel Grozny TV, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has reportedly moved to Ukraine to supervise the movements of his troops in the country. The media outlet has posted a video on its Telegram channel showing Kadyrov dressed in a military uniform in a room with other Chechen soldiers around a table inspecting plans.

The dimly lit room, decorated with a Chechen flag with the face of Akhmat Kadyrov, is located near the Hostomel airfield, according to the Chechen president. The airport was captured by Russian troops a day after Moscow's offensive on Ukraine began. 

AP/MUSA SADULAYEV - El líder regional de Chechenia, Ramzan Kadyrov, sostiene un Kalashnikov pintado de blanco mientras inspecciona a las tropas antes de su despliegue para un ejercicio en el Ártico en un aeropuerto a las afueras de Grozny, Rusia, el martes 9 de marzo de 2021

"The other day we were about 20 km away from you, the Kiev Nazis, and now we are even closer," Kadyrov said. Putin's strongman in the Caucasus has also advised Ukrainian forces to surrender or else they will be "liquidated". Kadyrov also claimed on his Telegram channel that there are about 5,000 troops "around and inside" Mariupol. The city on the Sea of Azov is one of the places in the country where Russia has intensified its bombardment. However, despite Moscow's offensive, the southeastern city is still holding out. In recent days, Russian aircraft have bombed a maternity and children's hospital and a mosque, as well as several residential buildings.


"We will show them that Russian practice teaches war better than foreign theory and the recommendations of military advisers," Kadyrov added. Shortly after the invasion began, Grozny sent more than 10,000 soldiers to join Russian troops in the war against the Ukrainian army. The Chechen leader has also repeatedly called on Putin to 'intensify' the offensive against Ukraine. He even called the Russian army's operations 'weak'.

Russian troops do not only have the full backing of the Kadyrovites. Other militias from different parts of the world have expressed their desire to fight alongside Moscow in the Ukrainian war. According to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, 'more than 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East' are ready to participate in the Russian offensive. Given this situation, Putin has indicated that his government "should give them the ones they want and help them get to the conflict zone".

REUTERS/CHINGIS KONDAROV - Miembros del servicio marchan a lo largo de una calle tras el discurso del jefe de la República de Chechenia, Ramzan Kadyrov, dedicado a un conflicto militar en Ucrania, en Grozny, Rusia, el 25 de febrero de 2022
"Where is the strong Russian army?"

Earlier, the US newspaper The Wall Street Journal had already revealed Russian plans to mobilise Syrian fighters in Ukraine, while the Syrian media outlet, Deir Ezzor 24, reported that the Kremlin was offering between $200 and $300 to recruit mercenaries in the country. Since 2015, the Russian army has been operating in Syria alongside the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, which is why Putin has become Damascus' main ally.

Russia's plans have reached Kiev, where Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has referred to these fighters as 'thugs from Syria' who will kill people 'in a foreign land'.  Meanwhile, his presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych, has referred to Russia's military "vulnerability".

AFP PHOTO/Ukraine presidency  -   El presidente ucraniano, Volodímir Zelenski, se dirige a la nación en Kiev a primera hora del 25 de febrero de 2022

"Where is the mighty Russian army if they cannot manage without the Syrians? If they want us to kill 16,000 Syrians too, let them come," Arestovych said. In this regard, Middle East Institute analyst Charles Lister pointed out that, if these Syrian fighters finally arrive in Ukraine, "they will be nothing more than cannon fodder in a war and in an environment that is completely alien to them", as reported by the BBC.

In addition to Syria, several soldiers from the Central African Republic have posted a video on social media expressing their loyalty to Russia and announcing that they would soon join their "Russian brothers" in Ukraine to establish "peace and order". Lately, the Kremlin-linked Wagner group has intensified its efforts to expand its influence in certain African regions. 

Opposing the foreign fighters hired by Moscow are members of the so-called 'Foreign Legion' created by Kiev. According to the Ukrainian authorities, more than 20,000 volunteers have already applied to join these international brigades "against the invaders of the 21st century". Most of these soldiers are European or North American, but there are also Latin American and Asian nationals, Belarusian and Georgian militias, and even Chechen groups opposed to the current regime in Grozny.