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Kadyrov’s troops likely ordered to pick up where Wagner left off – ISW

Kadyrov's army ukraine
Kadyrov’s troops spent some time in a forest near Kyiv at the onset of Russia’s invasion in 2022. Photo by counterintelligence of Ukraine’s Security Service, via RFE/RL
Kadyrov’s troops likely ordered to pick up where Wagner left off – ISW

The Kremlin could seek to reestablish Kadyrov’s forces as the main offensive force following the conclusion of the Wagner forces’ activities and subsequent withdrawal from the frontlines

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, appears to have received orders from the Russian military command to initiate offensive operations in Ukraine. This new development follows the withdrawal of the Wagner Group’s forces from Bakhmut, as the Institute for Study of War noted in its daily report.

On 31 May, Kadyrov stated that his forces have received a new directive and have taken control of the frontline in the Donetsk Oblast. In line with the report, Kadyrov mentioned that Chechen units have been instructed to begin “active combat activities” and to “liberate a series of settlements.” He also stated that the Chechen “Akhmat” Special Forces (Spetsnaz) and the “Sever-Akhmat” Special Purpose Regiment have been transferred towards Marinka, southwest of Donetsk City.

ISW’s report also refers to the Russian Ministry of Defense’s statements, which confirm that detachments from the 5th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps and Akhmat Spetsnaz have conducted offensive operations in the Marinka direction.

In the report, ISW cites Kadyrov’s claims that the Russian military command has also instructed Russian, Rosgvardia (Russian National Guard), and Chechen Akhmat forces to begin offensive actions along the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. While Kadyrov suggests that these units have started tactical preparations for such operations, ISW has found no evidence of Chechen offensive activities in Zaporizhzhia or Kherson so far.

After a nearly year-long break from participating in high-intensity combat operations, the alleged return of Chechen forces to offensive operations is a significant development, as highlighted in the ISW report.

They’re not Chechens, they’re Russian occupation troops – free Chechen Republic representative about Kadyrovites

The ISW report suggests that the Kremlin could seek to reestablish Kadyrov’s forces as the main offensive force following the conclusion of the Wagner forces’ activities and subsequent withdrawal from the frontlines. The Russian Ministry of Defense’s mention of “Akhmat” operations in the Marinka direction a day before Wagner’s initial claimed withdrawal date on 1 June lends support to this hypothesis.

The report also raises the possibility that the Kremlin may be attempting to sever the relationship between Kadyrov and Yevgeny Prigozhin, who finances the Wagner Group, intending to reassert federal authority over Chechen forces.

In May, Wagner financier Prigozhin announced he would hand over his positions to Ramzan Kadyrov’s troops.

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