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30 Dec, 2021 17:09

Putin didn’t order annexation threat against Ukraine – Kadyrov

Ramzan Kadyrov insists he wasn’t acting on orders from above when he mooted staging an offensive against Russia’s neighbor
Putin didn’t order annexation threat against Ukraine – Kadyrov

The head of the Chechen Republic has denied he was told to deliver an explosive statement in which he declared he would have invaded Ukraine a long time ago, if ordered to do so, and that Moscow should annex the country.

Speaking on Wednesday in a live broadcast on Instagram, Ramzan Kadyrov rejected claims made by a number of analysts that his remarks had been dictated Putin. On the contrary, he said, he had limited exchanges with the leadership of the country.

“I am not even part of the inner circle of the president and prime minister,” Kadyrov insisted. “Yes, I have connections … [but] no one has ever told me to make a statement about Ukraine or other states.”

He went on, explaining that he had spoken out because he believed “the fate and security of [Russia] is now in an extremely difficult situation.” Kadyrov registered his concern that the West was edging ever closer to the country’s borders, cautioning that “problems may arise at any time.”

“If we surrender our positions, they may start dictating conditions to us, just like other countries. Therefore, as a citizen who is worried about the republic, the state, and its people, I have expressed my opinion,” the Chechen leader said.

Kadyrov’s explanation comes shortly after he said Ukraine should be annexed by Moscow if its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, did not drop his anti-Russian stance. The regional chief claimed he would have been ready to guide 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,” Kadyrov said.

Tensions on the shared border between Russia and Ukraine have been running high in recent weeks, with Western officials and media outlets alleging Russian forces have been building up near the demarcation line ahead of launching a full-scale invasion. The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected these claims, however, arguing that they are groundless.

Moscow has instead accused members of NATO of shuttling an alarming amount of weaponry in the direction of Russia’s borders and Western states of encouraging Kiev to engage in anti-Russian provocations.