Ramzan Kadyrov: I never said that I killed Russian soldiers

The head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said that he is deliberately being quoted as having said that he murdered Russian soldiers during the First Chechen War. So he said in response to TASS correspondent Andrei Vandenko who asked the Kadyrov about how he fought against federal troops.

Kadyrov did not offer a direct response to the question of whether he had killed Russian soldiers.

"May I be damned if I do not answer as it was! I have nothing to hide. I repeat, I walked around with my father. And he, as the Mufti, saved the lives of many, many soldiers," said the Chechen head.

Kadyrov said that his main opponents during the first Chechen campaign were "citizens of five dozens countries, all of whom somehow ended up in Chechnya, though [some of them] had been unheard of to him previously." These groups were composed, said Kadyrov, by "Western special forces."

"I never told anyone, neither in jest nor earnestly, that I killed Russian soldiers. I never said such a phrase! These words have been attributed to me ... They are being proliferated [by those who] know perfectly that they are a blatant lie. Yes, during the first campaign, I was up in arms with my people. I was small and stupid then," Kadyrov said.

Ramzan Kadyrov is often credited as saying, "I killed my first Russian at the age of sixteen." In 2006, Novaya Gazeta journalist Yulia Latynina reported that Kadyrov said these words during a meeting with Dmitry Kozak, the head of the State Commission for Development of the North Caucasus. There is no documentary evidence in support of Latynina's claim.

Ramzan Kadyrov fought against Russian federal troops in the first Chechen War alongside his father, Akhmad Kadyrov. At the beginning of the conflict, Kadyrov junior was eighteen years old. In 1999, the Kadyrovs moved to the side of Moscow. Akhmad Kadyrov was then made head of the Chechen Republic.