Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of Chechnya and so far a staunch supporter and ally Putin, disagreed with the fact that about 100 soldiers from the Ukrainian Azov regiment were returned to Ukraine by the Kremlin. In the first months of the war, Chechen soldiers conscripted to help Russian soldiers clashed with Azov’s Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol when the Russians briefly occupied the city.
“I am extremely dissatisfied with yesterday’s news. The whole situation does not even make sense to me,” Kadyrov commented on Thursday in a post on Telegram, quoted by the Russian Meduza service. “Whenever combat or tactical decisions were made, they were always consulted with us, active participants in a special military operation. But now …” – added Kadyrov.
On Wednesday, the chief of staff of the president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Andrij Yermak said that 215 Ukrainians returned to the country as a result of an exchange of prisoners, which – as Jermak added – was also negotiated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Meanwhile to RussiaViktor Medvedchuk, a deputy and one of Putin’s most faithful allies in Ukraine, was arrested by the authorities in Kiev in April, along with 55 Russian soldiers.
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Among the 215 released Ukrainians, there were 100 fighters from the controversial nationalist and far-right members of the Azov regiment, whom Russia calls “neo-Nazis.”
Kadyrov does not distance himself from Putin
“The transfer of even one of these Azov terrorists should be ruled out,” Kadyrov wrote in his post. He also added that he would continue to follow Putin’s orders.
“Those at the top of the Ministry of Defense and the FSB see things much more clearly,” wrote Kadyrov, adding that his forces would stick to “our main inviolable principle: that we will obey all orders of our Commander in Chief!”
On Wednesday, 10 foreign fighters fighting on behalf of Ukraine who were captured by the Russians – including two Americans – were also released as part of a settlement negotiated in part by Saudi Arabia. The bilateral prisoner exchange is another important success for Ukraine, which has made great progress in the fight against the Russian invader in recent weeks.
Author: Azmi Haroun
Translated by Paweł Pązik