Chechens are currently fighting with the Russian army, as Vladimir Putin attempts to take control of the Donbas region. Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s ruthless ruler, is a staunch ally of the Russian President and has fully supported the war against his western neighbour. Russian state media estimated that some 12,000 Chechen volunteers have been recruited to fight for Moscow.
In the TikTok clip, the Chechen commander boasts about how his troops have successfully carried out their military mission against Ukrainian forces.
He rates the performance of his team as “five-plus” and claims only one of their number was injured.
At that very moment a shell can be seen and heard exploding next to the commander, with the live broadcast brought to an abrupt halt.
Social media users speculated that his mobile phone signal may have made him an easy prey for a targeted missile attack.
One wrote: “That thing was basically giving anyone watching with the right equipment a 10-digit grid to his location.
“He basically called that round in on himself.”
The Chechens have a reputation for brutality and have faced repeated accusations of committing war crimes.
The war in Ukraine has presented Kadyrov with a perfect opportunity to prove both his loyalty and ongoing usefulness to Putin.
The Chechen leader owes his position and power to the Kremlin, which bankrolls his regime.
In exchange for ensuring stability in Chechnya, Kadyrov receives huge subsidies from Russia’s federal budget.
Experts believe that Kadyrov’s militias are an integral part of Moscow’s “psychological war” on Ukraine.
Aurelie Campana, an expert in political violence and Russia, wrote on the Conversation website: “The announcement of the entry into the war of Kadyrov’s troops and the propaganda that surrounds it are part of this effort to destabilise the enemy.
“They are known for their cruelty. Involving Chechen troops serves to fuel fear within the Ukrainian population.”