Kadyrov promotes his role in Ukraine to burnish credentials as Putin loyalist: UK

Ramzan Kadyrov, the ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who leads the Chechnya region, is heavily promoting his unit’s roles in the Ukraine war to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist, a UK intelligence update reported on Tuesday.

“In an online post on 10 August 2023, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov acknowledged the efforts of the Chechen Vostok Akhmat Battalion in the heavily contested Orhikiv sector in Zaporizhzhia Oblast,” the British ministry of defense said in its war intelligence update.

It added: “Kadyrov’s comments highlighted the continuing role of one of the premier Chechen units in this key area. Vostok officially comes under the command of the Southern Military District’s 42nd Motor Rifle Division which has been active around the village of Robotyne.”

The UK intelligence report stated: “Chechen forces comprise a relatively small but high-profile component of Russian forces in Ukraine. Kadyrov likely heavily promotes his units’ roles partially to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist.”

Kadyrov has cultivated a close and strategically vital relationship with Putin. This bond traces back to the turbulent period following two devastating wars between Chechen separatists and Russian forces in the 1990s. Kadyrov, having once fought against the Russians in the First Chechen War, shifted his allegiances during the Second Chechen War, and with the backing of Moscow, played an instrumental role in suppressing the separatist insurgency. For his loyalty and commitment to restoring stability in the volatile region, Putin has granted Kadyrov considerable autonomy in governing Chechnya, often overlooking allegations of human rights abuses and extrajudicial actions under Kadyrov’s rule.

This relationship between Kadyrov and Putin is often described as symbiotic, with each leader benefitting from the other’s support. While Kadyrov publicly showcases unwavering devotion to Putin — even once stating his willingness to die for the Russian leader — he also enjoys significant latitude in his leadership of Chechnya, aided by substantial financial support from Moscow. For Putin, having a loyal and effective strongman like Kadyrov in Chechnya ensures that the once restive region remains under control, mitigating the risk of renewed separatist movements or widespread instability.

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