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As Ukrainian and Western officials have decried the atrocities witnessed in the Bucha massacre and around Kyiv, a hardened Chechen fighter and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been posting videos to his Telegram channel saying his men stand ready to finish the job in Ukraine.
Ramzan Kadyrov, leader of the majority Muslim Chechen Republic, has reportedly visited the badly bombarded port city of Mariupol on the Black Sea as Russian troops have pulled back from the capital region around Kyiv and are regrouping to focus their offensive on southeastern Ukraine.
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Western countries upped their sanctions against Moscow Wednesday in an effort to cripple the Russian war machine after photos surfaced showing corpses in civilian clothing lining the streets of Bucha, some with their hands behind their backs and showing signs of rape and torture.
Defense experts told Fox News Digital signs of such killings are remnants of Chechen fighters or Wagner Group mercenaries who the Kremlin reportedly had been flying into Ukraine throughout the war effort to hunt down and kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Conscript soldiers, regular infantrymen serving in the Russian forces, would be less likely to be trained to round up civilians so efficiently and brutally execute them as evidence in Bucha and around Kyiv suggests.
In an address to the UN Security Council Tuesday, Zelenskyy, speaking remotely from Ukraine, pointed out how some of the corpses had their tongues cut out, something “terrorists” had done in other territories.
Meanwhile, Kadyrov, remaining active on his Telegram channel, released a video of his men sword fighting Wednesday. He said they are ready to “go on the attack with sabers.”
The intention behind the video remained unclear, but the Chechen leader, who once fought against Russia before he and his father changed allegiance to Moscow, has allowed himself to openly criticize the Kremlin in recent days, signaling potential fractures between Russian leadership as the war drags on for more than 40 days.
Taking to Telegram again, Kadyrov criticized Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman and Putin’s chief press officer, on Sunday for defending Russian TV host Ivan Urgant, who fled the country after criticizing the war in Ukraine, according to The Washington Examiner. Kadyrov said Peskov ought to be more respectful of his Chechen fighters who “sit in a cold trench for several days.”
He also slammed Peskov for failing to congratulate him after Putin awarded Kadyrov the lieutenant general rank in recognition of Chechen military service in Ukraine. The Chechen fighter added that Peskov’s “priority scale” is off kilter, suggesting, “We need to do something about it.”
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Throughout the war, Kadyrov and his men have been sharing propaganda videos on his Telegram channel, recently claiming that trucks were arriving from Chechnya to supply humanitarian aid to Mariupol. But Ukrainian officials say those materials were looted from local civilians.
Fox News’ Amy Kellogg contributed to this report.