Chechen Leader Kadyrov Plotted to Kidnap Ukrainian Children—Report

Ramzan Kadyrov, the strongman leader of Chechnya, plotted to kidnap children from an orphanage near Kyiv, an adviser to Ukraine's interior ministry has claimed.

Anton Gerashchenko shared a clip on Telegram on Monday that he said shows a video of Kadyrov's special forces discussing a failed plan to abduct the children.

The clip appeared as reports circulated that Kadyrov was with Russian forces in Ukraine.

It was not immediately clear who recorded the footage, nor why it was leaked.

In it, Kadyrov and three soldiers are seen in a dim room. One of the soldiers explains why their operation did not go as planned.

"The approach to this orphanage was completed. The strategy that you told us, it worked 100 percent. We did not perform a sweep of this village. We did not go in from the flanks, or conduct reconnaissance, but instead immediately, brazenly, and at speed, approached this orphanage," a mercenary told Kadyrov.

"We quickly got inside, but unfortunately, the children were not there," he said. "We saw two nurses crying, and children's beds were still warm, but no children were there."

The mercenary told Kadyrov that they were "just a few hours late" and that Ukraine's security services, "under the guise of the Red Cross," put all children in buses and relocated them to Kyiv.

Kadyrov spoke briefly toward the end of the clip, asking the distance from the orphanage to Kyiv.

"Yes, from where we were, it's 7 kilometers [4.5 miles] to Kyiv," the soldier responded.

Kadyrov has been repeatedly accused by international NGOs of human rights violations in Chechnya. He denies the reports.

Earlier, Kadyrov posted a video to Telegram claiming he was in Ukraine.

Newsweek has been unable to independently verify the reports, Kadyrov's whereabouts, or whether the leader of Russia's Chechnya region had travelled to Ukraine.

"The other day we were about 20 km from you Kyiv Nazis and now we are even closer," Kadyrov wrote on the messaging app, calling on Ukrainian troops to surrender "or you will be finished."

"We will show you that Russian practice teaches warfare better than foreign theory and the recommendations of military advisers," he added.

In a statement on Telegram, Gerashchenko accused Kadyrov of planning an operation to abduct the children.

"Kadyrov arrived in Ukraine and the first thing they do is plan an operation to kidnap children from an orphanage...," Gerashchenko wrote.

"This is the essence of Kadyrov's streak: kidnapping, torture, intimidation, and posturing for social networks. Apparently, they wanted to use children from the orphanage for the next recording of a PR video Kadyrov," the official added.

Follow our live blog for updates on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov attends a ceremony to confer the 'City of Military Glory' title to five Russian towns, at the Kremlin on June 22, 2015 in Moscow, Russia. Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

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