Putin’s ally has slammed a top Russian general for his ‘mediocrity’ and said his sons aged 14, 15 and 16 will go to war.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov – a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin – has said he will send his three teenage sons to the front to fight in the war in Ukraine after he berated military leaders in Moscow for a string of on-the-spot defeats of battle.
Kadyrov, who commands a personal army fighting in Ukraine, earlier called for the commander of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine to be stripped of his medals and sent to the front to fight. He criticized Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, calling him “mediocre”.
The Chechen leader has increased his vitriol for military leaders since the withdrawal of Russian forces from the key town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine.
On the Telegram messaging app, Kadyrov posted a video of his children – Akhmat, 16, Eli, 15, and Adam, 14 – firing weapons. He wrote that they will soon be “on the hardest sections of the contact line”.
He said the teenagers had been trained in combat “almost from an early age” and insisted he was “not kidding”.
“It’s time to prove himself in a real fight, I can only welcome this desire,” Kadyrov said.
The video showed the boys in camouflage and dark glasses, on tanks, guns strapped to their waists, firing rocket launchers and machine guns. Sometimes teenagers smile as they pull or give a thumbs up.
Kadyrov has been one of the most vocal supporters of Russia and its invasion of Ukraine. He also suggested that Russia consider using a small tactical nuclear weapon.
The Kremlin on Monday rejected its call to use low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to Kadyrov’s remarks by saying, “This is a very emotional moment. The heads of regions have the right to express their point of view. Even in difficult times, emotions should always be excluded from any evaluation.
Peskov nonetheless hailed the Chechen leader’s “heroic contributions” to the military operation in Ukraine.
“Ramzan – you tear man!”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner mercenary group and known as Putin’s leader, praised Kadyrov for his remarks.
“Ramzan – you tear man!” Prigozhin said in a statement. “All those bastards should be sent barefoot to the front lines with automatic rifles.”
When asked if his remarks should be considered a criticism of the Defense Ministry, Prigozhin replied: “God forbid.”
“These statements are not criticism, but simply a show of love and support,” said Prigozhin, whose mercenary army has participated in conflicts in Mali, the Central African Republic, Libya and Syria.