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Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov announced that Chechen forces are fully prepared to protect against potential raids in Belgorod Oblast, possibly as a means to keep his troops out of active combat in Ukraine, according to the Institute for the Study of War latest assessment.
Kadyrov, speaking on June 5, announced that he commands a sizeable contingent of 70,000 Chechen servicemen serving in undisclosed formations within the Russian military.
While Kadyrov acknowledged that the Russian "Commander-in-Chief," implicitly referring to President Vladimir Putin, is more knowledgeable in this matter, he wanted to remind everyone of the Chechen units' ability to handle what he called "terrorists" who might infiltrate Belgorod Oblast.
"Kadyrov’s rhetorical shift towards suggesting that Chechen forces get involved in Belgorod Oblast may suggest a desire to preserve his forces from engaging in combat in more challenging sectors of the front," the ISW found.
The ISW previously assessed that Kadyrov seemed to be conserving his forces and has refrained from participating in large-scale offensive operations since the summer of 2022. Furthermore, Kadyrov claimed on May 26 that 7,000 Chechen servicemen were already operating in Ukraine.
"If Kadyrov’s claims are close to accurate, only about 10 percent of available Chechen forces are serving in Ukraine, but his statements are impossible to verify," the ISW concluded.