Russia 'Finding It Difficult' in Ukraine, Chechen Warlord Admits

The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, has told a Moscow audience that his country's forces are "finding it difficult" and are fighting a war "against NATO" in Ukraine.

A fierce loyalist of Vladimir Putin, the leader of the Caucasus republic announced his forces had been deployed to the battlefield in Ukraine soon after the Russian president invaded on February 24.

Since then, the purported military exploits of Kadyrov's troops, who are known as "Kadyrovites" have been a feature in the Chechen strongman's social media channels.

At a filmed educational forum in Moscow, Kadyrov addressed Russia's faltering invasion of Ukraine, in which his militias have suffered heavy casualties.

"We're fighting not against Ukraine, against Banderites—we're fighting against NATO," Kadyrov told the audience at the New Horizons event on Wednesday. He was referring to World War II Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, who has been implicated in collaboration with Nazi Germany.

"NATO, the West is arming them," he told the event called New Horizons. "Their mercenaries are there and that's why our state is finding it difficult.

"But it's a really good experience, we'll prove once again that Russian cannot be defeated."

Kadyrov also insulted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the military and diplomatic support Berlin has provided to Kyiv.

"We see how the German leadership is behaving like a schizophrenic," Kadyrov said."[Scholz] is behaving in such a way I don't even understand, he's not governing his state at all. He's not interested in global rules."

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry and the German foreign ministry for comment.

Taking questions from the audience, Kadyrov admitted there were "about 3,000" Chechen troops in Ukraine, some of whom were "slowly clearing Lugansk and Donetsk" in the Donbas region, where he said "the situation is calm."

He added that "at the beginning, there were mistakes" in the campaign but that now "we are 100 percent going according to plan."

"We will free Ukraine from these shaitans," the leader of the predominantly Muslim Chechnya said, referring to evil spirits described in Islam.

Kadyrov also announced that another 200 volunteers had left Chechnya to take part in the war in Ukraine. He said there was no need for mass mobilization in Russia because "patriotism" would ensure that enough people would enlist to fight.

Kadyrov, who has frequently been accused of human rights abuses, has boasted about his role in the Ukraine war, which has been played down by the Kremlin He has claimed to have fought on the front line and urged Russia to ditch peace talks with Kyiv.

In April, his unit posted a video of its soldiers, clad in their distinctive black clothing, in front of a burning building declaring Mariupol had been taken.

Ukrainian officials accused Kadyrov and Chechen fighters of plotting to assassinate Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ramzan Kadyrov Russian Republic of Chechnya
The leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov (Inset), told an audience in Moscow on Wednesday that Russian forces were "finding it difficult" in Ukraine. Kadyrov is pictured in Moscow in November 2018. a burnt Russian tank on a road west of Kyiv, April, 2022, MIKHAIL SVETLOV/GENYA SAVILOV/