The head of the Chechen Republic says he would have invaded “long ago” if he were instructed to do so.
By Jonny Tickle
Ukraine should be annexed by Moscow if the country’s president, Vladimir Zelensky, does not change course from his anti-Russian policy, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Sunday.
Speaking at his annual end-of-year press conference, Kadyrov offered his view that Ukrainians are also Russian people. Chechnya, which he has led since 2007, is a republic of Russia in the country’s south, bordering Georgia.
“My deep conviction is that if Zelensky and his team behave this way, Ukraine should be annexed to our country. The Ukrainians are our people. It is our territory. This is my opinion,” Kadyrov said, noting that he would have been ready to lead an offensive to “annex Ukraine to the Chechen Republic” if instructed to do so.
“If I had been entrusted with it, I would have solved it long ago,” he said, stressing that he was simply expressing a personal opinion.
Kadyrov’s comments come as tensions on the border between Russia and Ukraine remain high. In recent weeks, Western media outlets have alleged that the Kremlin is building up its troop presence on the frontier and planning an invasion. Moscow has denied all such accusations, and the Kremlin has repeatedly said it poses no threat to any other country. Kadyrov, however, holds an entirely different opinion and wants Russia to solve the issue with Ukraine militarily.
According to the Chechen leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin must reject foreign countries dictating conditions to Moscow because the “security of the state and people” are more the most important thing, and the region’s infantry is “absolutely ready to leave and carry out orders without any problems.”
Last week, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Alexey Danilov, claimed Russia had deployed 122,000 servicemen within 200km (124 miles) of the border, with another 143,500 within a distance of 400km.
Speaking again on Saturday, Danilov also noted there was no significant risk of an imminent invasion.
“We don’t think this is a big surge,” he said.