Putin ally creates four new battalions to bolster Russian military

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Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader and key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is forming four new military battalions “with an impressive number of personnel” to help replenish Russian troops during the ongoing war with Ukraine.

Kadyrov said in a Telegram article on Sunday that the four battalions, titled “North-Akhmat”, “South-Akhmat”, “West-Akhmat” and “Vostok-Akhmat”, would be created “very soon” in the Chechen Republic.

“The military contingent will only include Chechen guys,” Kadyrov said in the post, according to an English translation. “They will replenish the composition of the troops of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.”

Russia has not provided any estimate of troop losses since late March – Russian state news agency Tass reported at the time that a Russian military official put the death toll at 1,351. But Ukraine estimated on June 8 that Russia had lost 31,500 troops since the war began in late February, potentially putting Putin in need of a new troop supply.

Michael Kimmage, a history professor at the Catholic University of America and a former member of the secretary’s policy planning staff at the State Department, said Newsweek earlier in June that Russia “has a serious manpower problem” and that its losses were “very serious”.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, is forming four new military battalions “with an impressive number of personnel” to help replenish Russian troops during the ongoing war with Ukraine. Above, Kadyrov arrives in the Hall of the Order of St. George during the meeting of the State Council on Ecology on December 26, 2016 in Moscow.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Besides saying they would include an “impressive number of personnel”, Kadyrov gave no further information on the size of the planned four battalions. He also did not specify whether his expectations for the battalions to be formed “very soon” would mean a matter of days, weeks or months.

Kadyrov said he and Chechen Parliament Speaker Magomed Daudov visited the Khankala settlement to look at a building they could convert for two of the battalions. They have already selected a potential location for the first two groups, he said.

Military personnel from these battalions will have access to “all amenities” of their facilities, including living quarters, a firing range, and sports and training grounds, Kadyrov said.

“The desire to form new battalions with fully equipped personnel is caused by an extremely patriotic mood among young people in the region,” Kadyrov wrote in the message. “The number of people wishing to defend the motherland is increasing exponentially, and our task is to provide them with such an opportunity.”

Several weeks before Kadyrov announced his intention to create four Chechen battalions on Telegram, he shared a disturbing video showing a mass gathering of his armed forces. The video also included a speech, dubbed in English, that he gave on securing “peace” in the world.

Newsweek contacted the Defense Ministries of Russia and Ukraine for comment.

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