Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is calling for the training and deployment of tens of thousands of people to combat Ukraine’s formidable counteroffensive efforts.
Kadyrov said he would immediately place 85,000 volunteers on the battlefield, or a “minimum” of 1,000 trained soldiers from each region. His urgency comes as Ukrainians are reclaiming Russian-occupied territory and equipment, causing the “apparent panic” of some retreating enemy forces in regions like the Kharkiv region.
Kadyrov said 1,000 volunteers is “not such a large number” and even a “minimum” amount that could aid the wartime effort in the short term. It would not require a declaration of martial law by the Kremlin, he added.
“The head of each subject of Russia today must prove his readiness to help the state….The issue of solving the problems of a special operation could be closed in the shortest possible time,” Kadyrov said Thursday on Telegram.
He shifted his position regarding martial law and mobilization within nearly 24 hours. On Wednesday, Kadyrov said in a separate video posted on Telegram that Russia’s regional governments should announce forced mobilizations by way of martial law to aid Russian troops fighting in the “special [military] operation.”
“If you asked me, I would declare martial law and use every opportunity to put an end to this scum [in Ukraine],” he said, according to the publication Meduza. “We mustn’t wait for our country’s leadership to announce a mobilization; every region should contribute the forces and means that it has, the opportunities that it has. [They should] offer what they can to support our military today.”
Urging Russians not to sit on the proverbial sidelines and wait for a resolution in the conflict, Kadyrov also pledged that his Chechen fighters will continue to fight “against these [Ukrainian] devils,” even if the special operation concludes.
“We must destroy them,” he added. “We didn’t start a war with them just to retreat or surrender. We’ll win even if we die because we’ll be in heaven.”
Kadyrov has been vocal about his disdain for Ukraine and the West as a whole, saying it promotes “Satanism.” He has publicly sought orders from Putin directly “to smash the false-democratic, pseudo-liberal and military-barbaric campaign of Western states…to smithereens.”
The new calls for additional soldiers follow pessimism coming even from Kremlin loyalists. Last week on Russian state TV, former Russian parliament member Boris Nadezhdin said victory is becoming impossible, saying leaders should either fully mobilize or engage in peace talks.
Putin ally and known Russian propagandist called Nadezhdin “neurotic” in response, saying he should be locked in a jail cell for 15 days because of his comments.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.
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