Eastern Express 17.06

The war in Ukraine has debunked several myths. Aside from big ones, such as the power of Russian weaponry, there were also several smaller ones. One of them being about the Kadyrovites, the forces subordinate to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Initially feared by all, in the end, they have now become an Internet laughing stock.

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, about 2,500 Kadyrov’s fighters have been mobilised, according to Ukrainian military intelligence. Formally, they are part of the Rosgvardiya, the National Guard, which is a militarised police force. They can take the form of, for instance, barrier troops, ensuring that soldiers do not retreat. When the invasion began, they were meant to enter Kyiv, but were stopped in its suburbs. It is entirely possible they would have captured Ukrainian President Zelenskyy had the capital fell.

The conviction that these were excellent soldiers was built on a misunderstanding of what these units actually were. From a formal point of view, they are simply police formations, guarding order in Chechnya. They include special-purpose units trained to disperse demonstrations, as well as units trained for sabotage operations. Such forces have nothing waiting for them at the front.

The war in Ukraine has exposed the men led by Ramzan Kadyrov to be in fact much less than the once-feared battle group from the Caucasus. Frequent online appearances were intended mostly for show, though with their many mishaps on display, their credibility as Chechnya's lethal death squad has been tarnished almost beyond recognition.

Eastern Express’ guest

TVP World has invited Ukrainian TV presenter Grigoriy German to shed more light on the issue.