Kadyrov says Chechen fighters have left eastern Ukraine
The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has confirmed that Chechen combatants were involved in fighting on the side of the separatists in eastern Ukraine, saying all of these fighters have since returned to Chechnya. Kadyrov emphasized that they had taken part in the armed conflict as volunteers.
“Volunteers were over there, but they aren’t there anymore. When the ceasefire was going on, all of our volunteers were called back: come back, stay home… Now there shouldn’t be a single person over there. Our hooligans who were over there, we brought them back,” Kadyrov told news agency RIA Novosti in an interview. Kadyrov also said that Russian armed forces are not participating in the conflict.
“If Russia were really participating in [the conflict], like they say, then they would have already felt it long ago,” Kadyrov said.
There is evidence that Chechen fighters are participating in the war in eastern Ukraine on both sides of the conflict. Some are fighting for the separatists, and some are fighting for the government in Kiev.
Russian officials have rejected all claims that Russian soldiers on active duty are participating in the conflict. The Ukrainian side has accused Russia of sending soldiers to fight for the separatists.