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Spokesperson Ukrainian army: Russia regrouping in Kharkiv Oblast, punishing deserters

According to the spokesperson, the main task of the Ukrainian Defense Forces is to ”hold back the enemy, inflict maximum losses on them and gradually move forward to liberate Ukrainian territories.”
Soldiers of Russia's Chechen paramilitary groups collectively known as Kadyrovites. Belgorod, Russia, 2023. Photo via Defense Express.
Soldiers of Russia’s Chechen paramilitary groups collectively known as Kadyrovites. Belgorod, Russia, 2023. Photo via Defense Express.
Spokesperson Ukrainian army: Russia regrouping in Kharkiv Oblast, punishing deserters

Russian Armed Forces are regrouping and deploying barrier detachments from among the personnel of Kadyrov’s Akhmat in the Kharkiv Oblast.

Nazar Voloshyn, spokesperson for the Khortytsia operational and strategic group of troops, said this in a commentary to LIGA.net.

“The enemy did not conduct any offensive actions in the Kharkiv Oblast. It is regrouping its troops (…) In support of its actions, the enemy is using the old tactic of deploying barrier detachments from among the personnel of the “Akhmat” unit,” he said.

According to Voloshyn, in Vovchansk, the main task of the Ukrainian Defense Forces is to ”hold back the enemy, inflict maximum losses on them and gradually move forward to liberate Ukrainian territories.”

The situation in the area of Kupiansk is complicated: the Russian Armed Forces are trying to break through the defense of Ukrainian troops from two directions. Ukrainian Defense Forces have to stop any Russian advance there and force Russian forces to move to the defense, Voloshyn added.

Chechen military unit Akhmat

The Akhmat military unit of Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed authoritarian ruler of the North Caucasus region of Chechnya, signed a contract with Russia’s Defense Ministry on 12 June 2023. This was done in the aftermath of the uprising of the leader of the private Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The Akhmat unit is regularly used as a barrier detachment unit. Barrier units are placed behind the main troops to prevent the escape of soldiers from the battlefield, to catch spies, saboteurs and deserters, and to return fugitives and stragglers to the unit.

According to the Institute for Study of War, Kadyrov has consistently deployed Akhmat elements to perceived critical sectors of the frontline in order to earn favor from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

British intelligence has reported that around 9,000 pro-Russian Chechen troops are deployed in Ukraine, initially suffering heavy losses but now conducting frontline and rear operations. 

In addition, British intel notes that ”Chechen forces comprise a relatively small but high-profile component of Russian forces in Ukraine. Kadyrov likely heavily promotes his units’ roles partially to burnish his credentials as a Putin loyalist.”

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