Ramzan Kadyrov, leader
of Russia’s Chechnya region and a staunch ally of President Putin,
claims to have sent 1,000 elite fighters to fight in Ukraine. The Chechen
warriors often share videos of military drills online which has gained them a
fearsome reputation. Eyewitnesses have claimed that a particularly ruthless
sect of Chechen soldiers executed “heavily wounded” Russian troops in
a “field hospital” that was situated northwest of Bucha.
Bucha, a residential suburb of
the capital Kyiv, shocked the world in April after Ukrainian authorities found
mass graves and evidence of torture after Russian troops had withdrawn.
According to residents of the
town, the killer squad of Chechen fighters – known as Kadyrovtsy – had executed
people as early as March 5.
Mr Kadyrov’s men have few
friends in the Russian army, where resentment left over from bloody wars in
Chechnya in the 1990s still runs high.
The Kadyrovtsy, who have been
used as a PR tool in Putin’s war, allegedly murdered their own comrades and
“operated a torture chamber” in a glass factory on Yablonska Street.
The latest claims seem to
corroborate previous reports by Ukraine’s ombudsman for human rights, Lyudmila
Deputy Commander of Ukraine’s
Territorial Defence Forces, Artem Hurin, was one of the first to visit
Borodyanka, northwest of Bucha after Ukrainian forces recaptured the town April
Mr Hurin, who is also a member
of the city council in the neighbouring town Irpin, said: “They would
bring heavily wounded Russian soldiers to a big hospital they had there, and
those who were very heavily wounded, they would just shoot them. No one other
than the Kadyrovtsy did this.”
He told the Daily Beast a
string of disturbing stories from residents who were tortured and raped by the
Russian troops and witnessed “executed civilians” in the street.